2017 IPM confirms $4.5 million local impact - March 8, 2018
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
The committee behind last September’s International Plowing Match (IPM) held its final all-chairs meeting last week and whether it was attendance figures, banding together in the face of adversity or donating money to local charities, there were plenty of reasons for members to pat each other on the back.
IPM Chair Jacquie Bishop emceed the event and shared some survey results with the assembled volunteers that painted an encouraging picture of those who attended the match and its impact on Huron County.
Thanks to over $3.5 million in non-local spending on accommodations, merchandise, concessions, tickets, etc. and nearly $1 million in local spending, mostly on tickets, concessions and merchandise, the match had a local economic impact of $4,498,824. That doesn’t take into account the tens of thousands of dollars that will be donated to local charities in the coming months.
A total of 520 visitor surveys were completed on the site by
agriinsights – the company was unable to reach its goal of 600 due to the cancellation of Sept. 20 – and, surprisingly, nearly 60 per cent of those surveyed at the match did not work in the agricultural field.
Even with the weather-related closure on Sept. 20, 76,562 people passed through the IPM’s gates in Walton. Agriinsights found that each person averaged 1.5 visits and that the match saw just under 50,000 unique visitors.
Visitors were split 51 per cent to 49 per cent between local (living 40 kilometres or less from the site) and non-local (over 40 kilometres from the site). In addition, over 8,200 visitors came through organized school group visits.
Over 70 per cent of those who visited the IPM in September were born before 1970, with just 28 per cent being born after 1970. Fifty-eight per cent of those who attended the match were male, with 42 per cent of visitors listed as female.
Thirty-six per cent of the match’s total visitors came from its home county of Huron, followed by 15 per cent from Perth, nine per cent from Bruce, eight per cent from Middlesex, six per cent each from Wellington and Grey, four per cent from Lambton, three per cent each from Waterloo and Oxford, two per cent from Toronto and one per cent from Dufferin. The report also made note of several international visitors, making their way to Walton all the way from New Zealand, Ireland, France and the Netherlands.
The vast majority, 65 per cent, of visitors came to Walton for one day, while 14 per cent attended all five days of the match, despite the closure.
Thirteen per cent of those who attended the match were at an IPM for the first time, while 22 per cent were visitors who go to the IPM every year.
When the question was asked whether or not visitors would return to the IPM for Sunday, if it were open for an extra day given the weather-related closure on Sept. 20, over three-quarters of respondents said they would have.
The lunch committee said they made 4,700 sandwiches over the course of week, while Matt Townsend, head of the RV park, said they nearly sold out of campsites with 1,326 sites sold, only nine short of a sell-out.
At the special meeting of the committee chairs, held on Feb. 27 at Blyth Cowbell Brewing Company, Bishop said that in the six months since the match, the committee’s impact had been felt throughout the community.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t hear a comment thanking us for what a great job we did,” Bishop said. “I’m very proud to have been involved and we did make a difference.”
Over the course of the night, Bishop and Secretary Lynne Godkin called up committee chairs to share some of their memories of the match and accept cheques portioned out from the IPM proceeds. Each committee was given $2,000 to donate to a charity/charities of their choice within Huron County for a total of over $100,000. That is in addition to $42,000 that has already been handed out to local service groups that volunteered at the IPM.
Bishop, however, said that she expects there will be even more money to be handed out, although with the financial statements yet to be finalized, she said that couldn’t yet be confirmed.
The committee donations are as follows:
• Huron 4-H Tent Chair Jolande Oudshoorn is donating $2,000 to the Huron County 4-H Leaders’ Association
• Accessibility Chair Charlene O’Reilly is donating $1,500 to the Huron Respite Network and $500 to Dream Big 2018 – Foundations Huron
• Accommodations Chair Cindy Fisher is donating $2,000 to Huron Residential Hospice
• Administration Chair Corrie Forbes is donating $1,000 to the Huron County 4-H Association and $1,000 to Community Living
• Airport Chairs Kevin Melady and Al Murray are donating $2,000 to the Tanner Steffler Foundation
• Auctioneer Chair Kevin McArter is donating $1,000 to the Tanner Steffler Foundation and $1,000 to the Brussels Optimist Club
• Antiques Chairs Bill Roper and Lorne Glanville are donating $1,000 to the Wingham Salvation Army and $1,000 to the Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association
• Beautification Chair Deb Falconer is donating $2,000 to the Huron Respite Network
• Brussels Fall Fair Chair Matt Cardiff is donating $2,000 to the Brussels, Morris and Grey Recreation Committee
• Education Chairs Peggy Sloan and Crystal White are donating $2,000 to the Huron County Children’s Aid Society’s Send a Kid to Camp program
• Emergency Services Chair Marty Bedard is donating $1,000 to the Girl Guides of Canada Ontario Council and $1,000 to Victim Services of Huron County
• Entertainment Chair Rick Sickinger donated $1,000 to the Blyth Centre for the Arts while fellow Chair Sherry McCall donated $1,000 to the Blyth Festival Young Company
• Gates Chair Jack McLachlan donated $1,000 to the Tanner Steffler Foundation and $1,000 to Habitat for Humanity
• Internal Communications Chair Brad Vanstone donated $2,000 to the Benmiller Hall
• Landscaping Chair Karen Redmond donated $1,000 to the Huron Residential Hospice (in addition to the planting of a tree and placement of an IPM bench at the site) and $1,000 to the Tanner Steffler Foundation
• Lifestyles Chairs Brenda Dalton and Cheryl Ryan donated $1,000 to the Walton Park Committee and $1,000 to the Winthrop Park Committee
• Lunches Chairs Ann Bosman, Val Bolton and Val Pethick donated $1,000 to the Walton Community Hall and $1,000 to the Winthrop Park Committee
• Marketing and Public Relations Chairs Emily Morrison and Christy Little donated $2,000 to the St. Anne’s Catholic Secondary School’s new agriculture scholarship fund
• Opening and Closing Ceremonies Chairs Jenna Ujiye and Florence Witherspoon donated $2,000 to the Goderich Little Theatre
• Parade Chairs Gary and Lori Pipe donated $1,000 to the North Huron Community Food Share and $1,000 to Victim Services Huron County
• Parking Chair Steve Hallahan donated $2,000 to the Tanner Steffler Foundation
• Horse Plowing Chair Lyle Haney donated $2,000 to the Seaforth Agricultural Society
• Princess Competition Chair Barb Terpstra donated $2,000 to the Seaforth All-Girls Marching Band
• Queen of the Furrow and Celebration of Excellence Chair Melissa Veldman donated $1,000 to the Sunshine Foundation, Huron-Perth Division and $1,000 to the Thames Road-Elmville United Church
• Quilt Chair Linda O’Rourke donated $2,000 to the Seaforth Hospital Auxiliary
• Sanitation Chair Ben Driscoll donated $1,500 to the Huron County Food Bank and $500 to the Tanner Steffler Foundation
• Signage Chairs Ken Scott and Gerry VandenHengel donated $2,000 to the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre
• Sponsorship Chairs Greame Craig and Erin Robinson donated $1,000 to the Tanner Steffler Foundation and $1,000 to OneCare’s cancer drivers program
• Souvenirs Chair Allan Carter donated $2,000 to the Huron County fire departments for specialized training
• Tented City Chair Gerry Wheeler donated $2,000 to the Goderich-to-Guelph Rail Trail
• Tractor Park Chair Steve Haney donated $1,000 to the Seaforth Agricultural Society and $1,000 to the Seaforth Curling Club
• Traffic Chairs Don Hastings and Dave Jacklin donated $2,000 to the Huron East Fire Department’s Brussels Division
• VIP Chairs Brenda Campbell and Shelley McGavin donated $1,000 to the Tanner Steffler Foundation and $1,000 to the Alzheimer Society of Huron County
• Volunteer Chairs Lori Vanstone and Mary Garriock donated $2,000 to Community Living-Central Huron
• Wagon Tours Chairs Kevin Deitner and Don Baan donated $2,000 to the United Way of Perth-Huron’s Huron County partners
• 4-H Invitational Show Chair Kayla Bishop donated $2,000 to the Huron County 4-H Association
• Website Chair Monique Baan donated $1,000 to the Blyth Festival and $1,000 to the Huron County 4-H Association
• Worship Chair Gary Clark donated $2,000 to the Alzheimer Society of Huron County.
Jane Zwep donated money back to the local schools that aided in the construction of IPM benches: $650 to St. Helens Amish Fairview School, $1,070 to Central Huron Secondary School, $512 to St. Anne’s Catholic Secondary School and $1,768 to F.E. Madill Secondary School.
Matt Townsend, chair of the IPM’s RV park, is donating $2,000 to a partnership he’s hoping to strike with Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson to bring an esteemed speaker to Huron County to speak to local emergency responders on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Executive donations included: Lynne Godkin donated $2,000 to the Huron Women’s Shelter; Roger Robertson donated $2,000 to the Belmore Skating Club; Brian McGavin donated $1,000 to the Huron County 4-H Sodbusters Club and $1,000 to the Alzheimer Society of Huron County; Marlene Munn donated $1,000 to the local Big Brothers and Big Sisters and $1,000 to the Ronald McDonald House; Jeff McGavin donated $2,000 to the F.E. Madill robotics program; Mallory Kernighan donated $1,000 to the Salvation Army’s Out of the Cold program and $1,000 to the Huron County 4-H Association; Paul Dodds donated $2,000 to the Goderich Healthy Hearts program and Chair Jacquie Bishop donated $1,000 to the Huron Residential Hospice and $1,000 to the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre.
All committee chairs will be making their cheque presentations in the coming months.