The 2015 International Plowing Match is right around the corner and -- lucky us -- it's back in Eastern Ontario, in Stormont County to be exact, Sept. 22-26.
We are lucky. The IPM is a fabulous agricultural celebration jam-packed with commercial and association displays in the "tented city", local entertainment and plowing competitions. Most annual IPMs draw 60-80,000 visitors from all over Ontario.
The big show is set for just outside of Finch, on about 220 acres provided by Armin Kagi and his family. Kagi is pleased to be part of the century-plus IPM tradition that, if all goes well, will deposit up to $500,000 into the coffers of local community groups.
For Eastern Ontarians, it's the second "extra" agricultural event this season, on top of the fairs and such recurring attractions as the Curd Festival at St. Albert and Dairyfest in Winchester.
We've already enjoyed Francois Latour's action-packed successful run for a Guinness Book world threshing record held in conjunction with the Curd Festival. And now it's on to the IPM.
Operated by the Ontario Plowmen's Association, the plowing match is a remarkable phenomenon.
Think about it! Every year, on a patch of bare farmland somewhere in Ontario, a fully functioning temporary town appears, complete with hydro poles and wires, water pipes and treatment station, streets, acres of canvas-covered attractions and antiques, not to mention hookups for visiting RVs.
Every year like clockwork, the IPM unfolds with nary a glitch... and the poles, pipes and assorted other infrastructure are packed into containers and hauled to the next site which must be confirmed before the current year's show concludes.
It's a massive undertaking which relies to a huge extent on volunteers in the various host communities, volunteers like Jeff Waldroff who's devoting hundreds of hours to setting up the Stormont IPM as co-chair of the tented city committee.
The volunteers do what they do because the host county gets its 15 minutes to shine, to be the star of the show and strut its stuff for guests from close by and far away.
Thanks for the opportunity, Plowmen!