By Kirk Winter

The International Plowing Match and Rural Expo is returning to the City of Kawartha Lakes after a 28-year absence in the fall of 2020.

This information was shared by Mayor Andy Letham at Council on March 26, 2019 where he lavished praise on Ward 6 Councilor Ron Ashmore for the legwork he had done to convince the Ontario Plowmen’s Association to choose this area for their massive festival of farming.

Mayor Letham shared with Council that the OPA had another site in mind before Ashmore convinced them that coming back to CKL had value. The massive Expo will be split between the Lindsay Exhibition Grounds and property likely in Verulum Township.

If the 2020 version is anything like the 2019 version that has been awarded to Vernier in northern Ontario for fall of 2019, it is not to be missed.

The Expo typically runs in mid- to late-September. It will be interesting how it is booked around the LEX Fall Fair which has very little flexibility for hosting its exhibition, the third largest of its kind in all of Ontario.

The International Plowing Match typically runs five days and features over 500 vendors and exhibitors, live music, historic displays of agricultural equipment and more good food than you could ever possibly hope to sample in one visit.

The highlight of the weekend is the horse and tractor plowing competitions and the naming of the next Queen of the Furrow. The Premier and senior ministers traditionally attend these events, and it will be fun to watch Premier Ford behind the wheel of a tractor putting his agrarian skills on display in the celebrity plowing event.

The economic spinoff of this event is massive for any area lucky enough to host it. The attendance usually exceeds 80,000 in paid admission and the Ministry of Tourism estimates that this kind of show can pump $21 million in new revenue into a host economy.

When the show was last hosted in CKL, hotels were booked as far away as Peterborough, Minden and Uxbridge. The IPM in Vernier is setting up extensive facilities for RV’s and trailers which arrive in their thousands for this celebration of rural life.

Local NewsDeb Crossen