CORNWALL, Ontario – About a 100 local delegates are taking in the sights, smells and sounds at a massive rural expo that is coming to SD and G next year.
Jim Brownell, chair of the 2015 International Plowing Match, is leading the delegation to Ivy, Ont., just outside Barrie, to see first-hand how such a massive festival is undertaken.
Organizers of the local event, which will take place in Finch, Sept. 22 to 26 at the Kagi Farm, are already sowing the seeds of the 2015 plowing match that is expected to see tens of thousands of people congregate in the Cornwall area.
“This is allowing us to make sure everything is covered and it remains a seamless process,” said Brownell, fresh off attending the Queen of the Furrow banquet at the plowing match, that saw Fabienne Kagi of Finch named second runner-up. “This (visit) is key to the process because some of our organizers have never been to a plowing match before.
“Some said they didn’t know it was this big.”
Big, indeed. The plowing match typically sees the better part of 100,000 people attend every year.
The total budget for the plowing match, the largest event of its kind in North America, is expected to be approximately $2.5 million, and the economic spinoffs estimated at $20 million.
In the case of the 2011 Prescott-Russell plowing match, there were 72,000 visitors, and a legacy fund of $225,000 was created, which was donated back to various charities and community organizations.
For the 2015 SDG event, the funds will be provided to the three area hospitals. The primary accommodation hub for the event is expected to be Cornwall, in addition to the event grounds themselves.
Space for some 2,000 trailers has been set aside on the plowing match grounds.
Dignitaries, including celebrities and high-profile politicians often attend as well. This week Brownell was rubbing shoulders with the likes of federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.
Brownell said local organizers are closely eyeing some of the “challenges” faced this year, to ensure a smoothly-run event in 2015.
“Plowing matches are often kind of a pattern,” he said. “They operate the same.”