75,000 visitors expected to attend the five-day event
KEMPTVILLE — After a two-year hiatus, the International Plowing Match & Rural Expo is set to resume just five months from now — in Kemptville.
Held in a different location each year, the event goes ahead Sept. 20-24, 2022, at the former Kemptville Campus farm west of County Rd. 44 — a likely last agricultural hurrah for the property before the province proceeds with a planned new prison.
Interrupted only by the Second World War and the recent pandemic in its 110-year history, the annual IPM features horse- and tractor-plowing competitors, alongside a “tented city” trade show sprawled over several acres. The Kemptville edition represents the event’s first time back in Eastern Ontario since 2015 in Finch.
“We’re expecting at least 75,000 people,” Ontario Plowmen’s Association President Robert MacLean happily reported, also commending a small army of local organizers for their diligent preparations to date. As many as 1,200 volunteers are generally needed to pull off an IPM, according to MacLean. About half of the volunteer positions remain open
He said that 500 to 600 exhibitor spaces in the tented city will soon open for booking, following the impending release of the 2022 IPM booklet.
Because of a tighter supply of local accommodations, this year’s RV park will be a little bigger than the norm, with about 1,000 spaces up for grabs, according to the Kingston-area dairy farmer.
The triangular shape of this year’s property will also prompt some deviation from the usual six-street layout, he said. Expect to see about a dozen of the Ontario Plowmen’s shipping containers arrive on site next month already — a giant pack-up infrastructure kit that moves with the event each year. Key sponsor Hydro One and its workers will begin the task of installing a temporary electricity grid on site as early as July.
While MacLean conceded that plowing is somewhat of a dying art in an era of GPS steering and no-till agriculture, the competition is nonetheless expected to draw about 160 participants. In another slight change, the competitions will run over three days this year instead of the previous four-day tradition.