Thursday, January 30, 2020

Wiarton Willie and Groundhog Day

Update: February 2nd see my post on the 2020 festival

I have never met Willie before, not during any of my many visits to his home in Wiarton. For all I know he lives in Florida and only jets up north to Canada on one single day, solely to make his famous prediction about the end of Winter.
I can now say that I have seen Wiarton Willie!
That day is of course the annual Groundhog Day which happens February 2nd. In 2020 this is a Sunday and there is an entire free festival and carnival to help celebrate the event. The festival originally started in 1956 and has become more popular even while cycling through a few psychic rodents, each given the name Wiarton Willie. When the groundhog first goes outside, it looks for its shadow. If there is a shadow he goes back to sleep in his burrow because it is a sign of six more weeks of winter, if there is no shadow then spring is near and the groundhog goes to the bars because it's party time.

Sunday, February 2, 2020 festival schedule:

6:30 am Pancake Breakfast-Wiarton Arena
7:00 am Prediction Morning Festivities-Wiarton Arena
7:00 am waking up Willie with fireworks in Bluewater Park
7:30 am Groundhog Jog-Peninsula Shores District School
8:00 am Mixed Curling Bonspiel-Wiarton Curling Club
8:07 am Willie's prediction
9:00 am Dan the Music Man-Wiarton Arena
9:00 am Willie Warming Station-Century 21
10:00 am Zoo to You-Wiarton Arena.
10:00 am Carnival opens in Bluewater Park
10:00 am Dockside Willie’s Warming Station-Bluewater Park
11:00 am Optimist Food Booth-Wiarton Arena
11:00 am Lions Club Hockey Tournament-Wiarton Arena
1:00 pm Willie Saloon-Wiarton Legion
2:00 pm Family Story Time-Ross Whicher Centre
3:00 pm Robbie Burns Dinner-Wiarton Meeting Place

Wiarton, Ontario is at the base of the South Bruce Peninsula, along the shores of Georgian Bay - about 3 hours northwest of Toronto. From the Town's website; The Town of South Bruce Peninsula is fortunate to have something that no one else has, an albino weather prognosticating groundhog! As the most famous groundhog in Canada and the only albino weather prognosticator in the world, Wiarton Willie's prediction of the timing of spring is a news event that captures the interests of people around the world. Each year media from around the world converge on Wiarton to hear Willie make his famous prediction. Wiarton loves their beloved groundhog so much that they have branded the town "Willie's Basecamp"! Willie loves to make new friends so add a visit to the home of Wiarton Willie to your bucket list today!"

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