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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Country 'boys and girls' havin' fun on the farm at the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo

   One-Tank Trip for Sept. 15/12

   (c) By Jim Fox

    Here’s an opportunity for city slickers to meet up with their country cousins to see what happens down on the farm.
   It all comes together at the venerable International Plowing Match and Rural Expo marking its 99th year in Roseville, just south of Kitchener, next Tuesday to Saturday (Sept. 18-22).
Visitors to the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo can watch a barn-raising taking place daily.
   As the largest event of its kind in North America, “we are expecting between 100,000 and 150,000 people depending on weather conditions,” said match chairman David Pyper.
   Visitors will be amazed to see how a huge field of 323 hectares (800 acres) of rural farm land has been transformed into a massive tented city with roads, electricity and running water.
   The business of the match includes the plowing championships along the “Queen of the Furrow” contest but events have diversified over the years into a five-day giant family festival.”

   Working the fields
   Getting down and dirty continues to be one of the most interesting activities at the match.
   The Ontario Plowmen's Association is the “parent” host of the event that moves across Ontario on a yearly basis.
   This is the third time it has been held in Waterloo Region after matches in 1954 and 1995.
   As such, the focus is the Ontario plowing championships, with the winners in various categories advancing to the Canadian and then the world championships.
Traditional plowing using horses can be seen at the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo in Roseville.
   Plowmen's associations from across Ontario, various U.S. states and some from Europe will compete at the match.
   The plowing competition in the fields includes antique, horse, junior and modern plowing categories.
   Over the years, the original plowing match has grown into a large event that combines agricultural promotion, local business and tourism and family fun while informing about farming and food production.

   Visitors to the match can watch a traditional barn-raising taking place daily by “local community members” in the antique park.
Tractor demonstrations and square dancing using the machines are featured at the upcoming International Plowing Match and Rural Expo.
   There will be demonstrations of antique farm machinery including tractors and implements along with old vehicles and construction equipment.
   Steam-powered traction engines will be demonstrating plowing and providing rides shaking the ground as they roll across the field.
   Corn shelling, threshing, baling and oat-rolling demonstrations are also planned.
   The antiques’ area also includes maple sugar demonstrations and walking tours in the bush nearby with its wide variety of trees and vegetation in the Carolinian forests of southern Waterloo Region.
   The Dodge Rodeo series comes to town as does the West Coast Lumberjack Show, Aim Hi Canine Sport Show and Dancing Tractors involving square dancers driving farm tractors.
A quilt auction and show are one of the features of the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo.
   In addition, there is a quilt auction and show, horticultural, artisan, fashion and celebrity cooking shows daily along with more than 500 vendors.
   Taking place in Waterloo Region, it is also appropriate that an Oktoberfest Festhall and entertainment will be at the match.
   Plan to stay as there’s the huge RV Holiday Mini-Town, a fully serviced park with 1,800 sites adjacent to the match.

   If you go:
   To reach the plowing match, take Highway 401 to Exit 268, Regional Road 97 toward Ayr. Turn left onto Cedar Creek Road, then right onto Regional Road 58 (Northumberland Street) and left onto Roseville Road.
   Admission is $17; $5, ages six to 15; free, to age six; $40, family, two adults and two children.
   More information at www.ipm2012.ca; (519)-767-2928

   Still down on the farm
   - Farm Adventures are offered on Saturdays and Sundays this month and next at Leaping Deer Adventure Farm and Market in Ingersoll near Woodstock.
   “Learn and Play, Be a Farmer for a Day” takes place Sept. 22 and 23 with games and fun interactive programs to learn more about agriculture, said farm owner Julie Budd.
   There is also a dragon theme for this year’s corn maze and a themed menu in the store. www.leapingdeer.com; (519) 485-4795
   - On today and Sunday (Sept. 15 and 16) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is the annual Heritage Farm Show in Wallacetown, southwest of St. Thomas.
   Presented by the Tyrconnell Heritage Society, it’s held at the Backus-Page House Museum (29424 Lakeview Line).
   The show includes demonstrations of threshing, a working steam engine, farm horses, farmers’ market and historic farming interpretive displays. www.backuspagehouse.ca; (519) 762-3072 


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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