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Hydro One was recently on site at Nulandia Dairy Farms on the northeast corner of Mitchell installing the beginnings of what will soon become the approximately 1,000-acre “tented city” to host the historic 100th-edition International Plowing Match (IPM) and Rural Expo.
There will also be an RV park with 1,800 serviced sites for the accommodation of the people from across Ontario and beyond who will attend as exhibitors, visitors or competitors.
The Perth County Plowmen’s Assocation — along with hosting/presenting sponsors the County of Perth, the Municipality of West Perth, Hydro One, BMO Bank of Montreal, and Ontario’s Mutual Insurance companies — is the host for this year’s IPM, which runs Sept. 17-21.
The five-day extravaganza serves not only as the culmination of county-based plowing matches across Ontario leading up to the big event – including the Perth County Plowing Match Aug. 24 near Russeldale.
It is also a massive showcase of the businesses, cultural exploits, and community-based organizations which underpin the province’s all-important agriculture industry.
Chair of the 2013 IPM organizing committee, Bert Vorstenbosch Sr. of Mitchell, brims with enthusiasm when talking about next month’s event.
“The third cut of hay is coming on real strong, with all this good hay weather we’ve been having,” he explains, referring to the ample rainfall and relatively cool temperatures experienced by the region over the past month.
“We’re going to let (Nulandia’s owners) get on there before long and take off the third cut, and we’ll be in there as soon as possible setting up the tented city.”
With about a month to go, Vorestenbosch says the committee is still looking for additional event sponsors.
Sponsorship levels run all the way from the under $500 required to become a “Grass Roots Supporter” right up to the $100,000-plus that will secure you “Partner” status.
“The goal of the IPM is not only to educate the public about the importance of agriculture, but also to showcase Perth County,” explains the sponsorship section of the IPM’s website.
“Thousands of visitors from across North America will enjoy their visit and will leave with a desire to return ... your audience will be of all ages, and interests. Visibility through radio, television, and print media provides coverage of the various events and competitions, reaching over five million consumers.”
According to Vorstenbosch, sponsorship can be any combination of in-kind donations, other support, and cash. But, being this late in the game, he admits that the most important thing now is cash.
“We’ve got a really big name coming in to do a concert at the main stage,” he says, adding that, because the performance contract isn’t yet officially inked, he couldn’t yet disclose the identity of the act.
But he promised a definite crowd-pleaser. And, to help make that — as well as some other planned big-ticket attractions — happen, financial support would be much-appreciated to ensure the committee doesn’t have to fall back on using the proceeds from gate admission fees.
Typically, any profits from IPMs are donated back into the communities which help host the annual events. Following last year’s IPM near Ayr – which saw admission receipts drop from previous years due to persistent rains – the organizing committee was still able to spread over $300,000 in donations around to such organizations as the hospital foundations in Cambridge and Kitchener and community foundations in Kitchener/Waterloo and North Dumfries Township.
One thing the organizing committee isn’t putting out a last-minute call for is volunteers.
“We’ve been so fortunate to have so many great volunteers from all across the county stepping forward,” Vorstenbosch says. “Everything is running so smoothly.”