Field report & photos by Mike Davis
I went to the International Plowing Match today, Sept. 20, the opening day. This year, the 99th annual match is taking place just off Hwy 9 past Arthur in the town of Minto (Wellington County). The theme is “Fresh Taste of Farming” and the match runs until Sat. Sept 24. Highlights include the RCMP Musical Ride and medieval jousting. I got there just as the parade was starting and I got a few photos. The first I caught were some members of the RCMP Musical Ride on their horses, each one carrying a red and white flag.
The Ontario Liberal Caucus had a float with Premier Kathleen Wynne standing up.
The provincial NDP also had a float with leader Andrea Horwath sitting at the back of the wagon.
The Progressive Conservatives may have had a float but I didn’t happen to see it. The Green Party also participated. Many other floats took part, including a popular pair of mini ponies drawing a cart.
There were lots of interesting things to see, like the barn quilts inside and outside of a tent. It wasn’t clear why this exhibition was here, but the paintings on boards replicated secret signs such as for safe houses and routes to freedom during slavery days and the Underground Railway. I thought they were worth photographing.
Robert’s Farm Equipment of Chesley, Lucknow and Mount Forest and Stewart’s Equipment of Erin had exhibitions of Kubota farm equipment among others.
There were plenty of exhibits and demonstrations to spend time with.
I’ve gone to many Plowing Matches and the opening days always draw many Ontario MPPs. A few who know me from the magazine, actually asked me to take their picture while they were waiting outside the opening ceremony tent: Hon. Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Hon. Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Infrastructure, Hon. Indira Naidoo-Harris, MPP for Halton, and Associate Minister of Education, Early Years and Child Care, Sophie Kiwala.
As I was approaching the media RV just before leaving, three Plowing Match staff members tried to stop me from going in, and just then the door to the RV opened and Premier Wynne came out. I introduced myself to her and was able to snap some photos, including her being “selfied” with the Plowing Match staff.
In total I spent about half a day there, doing a lot of walking around the Schneider farmland and finding lots of things of interest. The Match runs all this week until the end of Saturday, Sept. 24.