Union Gas presents cheque for $25,000 to IPM 2018 sponsorship committee. February 28, 2018. (Photo by Sarah Cowan Blackburn News Chatham-Kent).

2018 IPM Growing In Sponsors (GALLERY)

The 2018 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo is catching the attention of many sponsors in Chatham-Kent.

The plowing match will run in Pain Court from September 18-22 and it is estimated to have 80,000 guests in attendance. An information night about sponsorship opportunities was held at Sons of Kent Brewing Company in Chatham on Wednesday.

Co-chair of the corporate sponsorship committee Jamie McGrail says it’s great more and more people are hopping on board and asking to be sponsors.

“We have some really good home-grown sponsors. We’re still looking for more obviously. The more we can get, the more money stays within the community — and that’s the big thing on this,” says McGrail. “We’re going down to seven months now until the match, so more and more people are coming on and being interested in the event.”

According to McGrail, sponsorships start at $500 and there are bronze, silver, gold, and platinum level sponsorships available as well. She says every dollar counts and every sponsorship is so important.

“There are so many different levels and there are so many different things that you can sponsor within the event like the world record, the skydivers, the dancing tractors, and the numerous bands that are going to be playing throughout those five days,” says McGrail. “That’s all IPM properties that are available that people can sponsor.”

Union Gas is one of the companies on the sponsorship list so far. Community Investment Manager Marian Redford was at the event to present committee members with a cheque for $25,000 towards a gold-level IPM sponsorship.

“We strongly believe in this area. We believe that there will be huge economic impact and from an education perspective, what a great opportunity to impact the children in our area,” explains Redford. “We just thought it was the right thing to do with our head office in Chatham.”

Redford says Union Gas has big plans for its exhibit.

“We’re actually going to have quite a large site that will be interactive and we’re trying to develop that now–really, a site where people can understand different energy options and be really proud of our company,” she says.

McGrail says without sponsors, there would be no IPM. She adds that the sponsorship money will come back into the community and local economy.

According to McGrail, the tented city will start to go up a month before the event.

“That’s when things will really start rolling… Like there’s 50 committees and we’re all diligently doing something, but to actually see some stuff come into fruition it will be about a month before that you’ll see things get really busy around there,” she says.