Wiarton Willie auction fetches bids of $1,700

Bids exceeding $1,700 have been placed for a front-row view of Wiarton Willie's Groundhog Day festivities.

Organizers in Wiarton, Ont., launched the auction for a spot in Willie's "shadow cabinet" on eBay on Friday.

The package includes a white tuxedo to attend the Feb. 2 event, an invitation to a media party, breakfast with the mayor and two nights in a local bed and breakfast. The auction closes Jan. 18.

According to custom, if Willie sees his shadow on Feb. 2, six more weeks of winter will follow. If he doesn't see his shadow, spring is on the horizon.

Wiarton Willie began prognosticating on winter's run in 1956.

Since then, other groundhogs in other parts of Canada have been predicting weather patterns, including Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam, Brandon Bob in Manitoba and Balzac Billy in Alberta. In the U.S., weather patterns are predicted by Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania and New York City's Pothole Pete.