Heavy rainfall shuts down IPM for the day

Muddy fields at the IPM in Pain Court. September 20, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Thibodeau)

Rainy, muddy conditions are causing some headaches for organizers at the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo in Pain Court.

IPM officials say due to persistent rainfall, as of 12 p.m. Thursday, the tented city was shut down for the day and horse plowing had also been postponed.

“We are closing Tented City because of our concern for the safety of our visitors, volunteers, and exhibitors − and because we need to maintain the integrity of the land,” said Cathy Lasby, executive director of the Ontario Plowmen’s Association.

A release from organizers says the RV Park remains operational and scheduled entertainment in the RV Park will proceed as planned Thursday evening.

At 3 p.m. vendors starting shutting down as work had to be done to try and fix the grounds for Thursday.

Jean Marie Laprise, who owns the land the IPM is operating on, said the rain didn’t put a total damper on the day though.

“I heard some of the teachers and kids say ‘this is the best field trip we’ve ever had,'” Laprise said. “It depends on your perspective. If you keep a positive attitude it was good. Certainly not as good for our vendors here and not as pleasant to damage the site here. We’re going to try and restore this tonight.”

Laprise said crews will be working on the grounds until at least nightfall and possibly longer to make them usable. He added some of the routes may need to be changed because the mud is so bad. Laprise said the site received an inch of rain and while he hoped most can be absorbed by the ground, he isn’t relying on it.

Laprise advised anyone planning to attend Thursday to wear something a little more heavy duty than sandals.

“It’d be a good idea if you got rubber boots, to bring them,” Laprise said. “Most of the areas will be fine by tomorrow, but there’s no question that I wouldn’t come in in high-heel shoes.”

Laprise added the IPM had an amazing day on Tuesday and Wednesday. He doesn’t see this rain stopping its overall success.