The 103rd edition of the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo (IPM) has been postponed until October 2021.
The IPM will run from October 13 to October 16, 2021, and will be held at the Lindsay Fairgrounds and neighbouring farms in Lindsay.
The event joins a long list of large scale public gatherings right across Canada that have fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Mayor Andy Letham announced the event at a council meeting in March 2019 people knew the potential this event had to create economic and tourist spin off like few other gatherings in Ontario. Victoria County had hosted the Plowing Match last in 1992, and hotels as far away as Peterborough, Minden and Uxbridge were booked solid.
The Ministry of Tourism estimated that the Plowing Match for 2020 would attract 80,000 visitors to Kawartha Lakes. Twenty percent of those individuals were expected to come from out of province and the United States. The event typically generates $21,000,000 in new revenue for the host economy. With this postponement those tourists are no longer coming. A Kawartha Lakes economy battered by COVID-19 and cottagers not yet ready to come to the area and spend will lose this once in a business season opportunity to salvage what is turning into a bleak year for entrepreneurs.
Ward 6 councillor, Ron Ashmore, who was instrumental in bring the plowing match to Kawartha Lakes for 2020, is disappointed in the postponement, but very pleased that the city will host the event again in 2021.
The International Plowing Match and Rural Expo is an event that typically runs five days. It features over 500 vendors and exhibitors, live music, historical displays of agricultural equipment and food galore.
The highlights of the weekend include the horse and tractor plowing competitions and the naming of the Queen of the Furrows. The Premier and senior ministers traditionally attend these events and try their hand at the wheel of a tractor in the celebrity plowing event.
Since its beginnings in 1913, this is only the third time that the event has not been able to open, the press release says.
Ironically, the first cancellation was in 1918 when the quickly-spreading flu pandemic struck the City of Ottawa. During the Second World War, the IPM did not open as it “was important for all Canadians to dedicate their time and talents to the war efforts,” according to a press release from the IPM.