The 103rd edition of the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo scheduled for this October in the City of Kawartha Lakes, Ont., has been postponed until October 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ontario Plowmen’s Association (OPA) made the announcement on Friday, basing it on local, provincial and federal information and regulations. The 2020 edition was scheduled for Oct. 14 to 17.
Organizers say that since its inception in 1913, the event has only been cancelled two other times: in 1918, during a flu pandemic in Ottawa, and during the Second World War in the 1940s.
The four-day event typically attracts 80,000 visitors, resulting in an economic spinoff of about $25 million for the community, the OPA states.
“In spite of these difficult times, the OPA has never wavered from their responsibility to the people that make the IPM successful year after year,” the OPA said. “The health and safety of our volunteers, sponsors, competitors, visitors and staff will always be our number 1 priority.”
The 2021 edition will be centred at the Lindsay Exhibition Grounds in Lindsay.
“We also look forward to working with the neighbouring farmers to showcase their resilient and dedicated community,” the OPA said.
In a joint statment City of Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham and Deputy mayor Pat O’Reilly said health and safety is paramount.
“The health and safety of our community and visitors remains our top priority as we continue to deal with the uncertainty of COVID-19 for the foreseeable future,” they stated.
“All things considered, we’re supportive of the decision to postpone this year’s International Plowing Match. We look forward to hosting when it is safe to do so and hope to make the 103rd IPM in Kawartha Lakes one to remember.”
Plans are also underway for the 2022 edition, which will be co-hosted by the Municipality of North Grenville and the Grenville County Plowmen’s Association in September.