Whether it's a long winter or an early spring, the Wiarton Willie Festival committee has a new chair with some fresh ideas about how to keep warm on that frigid February prognostication day.
South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson says Nicole Egan recently moved to the area from Toronto, but has spent years as a seasonal and weekend resident of Big Bay. She now works as an economic development officer for Bruce County.
"She has a huge marketing and event planning background,' adding "We're lucky to have her."
Egan says for her, it's something to keep her busy through the winter and is a good way to get to know more people in her community, while lending her skills to the event.
This comes after the Wiarton Chamber of Commerce stopped running the festival in 2017 and some of the events were dropped.
Egan wants to coordinate the festival with all the organizations who have events so they don't overlap, giving everyone an opportunity to take part in all the activities on offer.
Egan says in addition to the fireworks and prediction, she hopes to see more pop-up vendors and stores during the festival, keeping people warm with hot cider, mulled wine for the adults and hot chocolate for kids.
Egan wants it to be about more than the fireworks and prediction. She'd like to see snow sculpting and maple candy making alongside places to make crafts and to buy them, "Something that keeps you downtown and wandering around with the businesses that are there but also gives you something to take away and remember the experience, " says Egan
This year's festival falls on a Friday and she wants to keep the party going right through the weekend from Monday January 29th to Sunday February 4th.
Egan is also looking into having a theatre production come to town for an evening show.
She says first, she plans to reach out to some more community sponsors to see who they can bring on board for hot drinks, and then they'll need volunteers to run the activities and games in Bluewater park.
The only part of the festival the town puts on is the prediction day, the rest is all local organizations and volunteers.
Egan says the committee will be looking for lots of volunteers in the future for everything from planning to running booths, activities and events.