Dignitaries, CanPlow 2014 organizing committee members and participants gathered at a special media event at Purple Hill Farm in Thorndale last week for next month’s national championship.
“It’s all about having fun,” said event chair Donna Telfer. At the same time CanPlow 2014 will strive to promote peace, educate the community and promote the availability of healthy foods and activities available in Thames Centre and area.
The plow is recognized as a symbol of peace throughout the world, said farm owner and host George Taylor, who also discussed the importance of stewardship to the urbanites.
“We feel this is a major rural-urban event.”
Although creating the perfect furrow may look easy to some, many of the dignitaries who spoke pointed out that at past plowing events they’ve tried and failed to succeed.
“I do everything wrong,” said MPP Jeff Yurek of his attempts. Mayor Jim Maudsley quipped, “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done that I know nothing about.”
Maudlsey called the Taylor’s 1853 homestead that has remained in the family for six generations the perfect venue and congratulated the organizing committee. He also pointed out that farming is Thames Centre’s largest industry.
“We really like to support it; it’s really important that we recognize it.” Council recently approved a $1,000 donation from the municipality’s economic development fund.
Mark Brodhaecker of Ayr who competed at the world level in 2007 and 2012 said he enjoys the fellowship amongst the competitors and the environment at championships.
“We get to see the rest of the world and promote agriculture everywhere we go.”
About 30 people from Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba and New Brunswick will be competing in a number of junior and senior categories including several each in horse-drawn and tractor-drawn categories and the event is expected to draw a crowd of 1,500 over from August 14 to 16.
Other attractions besides the main event include demonstrations by a four-horse-hitch plowing team and by antique tractors, entertainment by precision horse-riding team the Canadian Cowgirls and North American clogging champions the Canadian Country Cruisers, a variety of booths demonstrating pioneer-era crafts such as spinning, weaving and displaying and displays by several historical and genealogical societies.
Horse-drawn wagons will transport people between parking lots and the various plowing competition sites and other attractions.
Kids can enjoy rides on the Apple Land train around the site and learn more about nature during wagon rides along trails in Taylor’s bush lot.
Queen of the furrow Celie Deibold said in her speech, “It’s a really great opportunity to showcase rural Ontario at its best.”