The cash and beer flowed freely Thursday evening at Sons of Kent, as the organizers of the International Plowing Match celebrated $320,000 in new donations.
Sixteen businesses, led by a donation of $100,000 by TekSavvy, contributed.
The IPM will take place Sept. 18-22 on 858 acres of land near Pain Court.
Organizers expect upwards of 20,000 people a day visiting the event, with half of those coming from outside the municipality.
Planning is in excellent shape, IPM co-chair Leon Leclair said.
“We’ve done our homework. We’re prepared,” he said.
Leclair said the efforts of an army of volunteers, as well as the landowners, sponsors, and the IPM executive are all key contributors.
“It’s a puzzle. Every little piece is important,” he said, adding the event is bringing everyone together. “Rural-urban divide doesn’t exist here.”
Darrin Canniff, also co-chair for the event, said a great deal is planned around the IPM, including a large-scale electronic 50/50 draw that will take place at the end of the event.
“We’ve got seven world records targeted,” he said, including the largest egg race and corncob eating event.
In terms of new sponsors, Natasha Ell Saunders, vice-president of legal affairs for TekSavvy, said being part of the event makes sense.
““TekSavvy has been a proud supporter of the Chatham-Kent community for 20 years,” she said. “We’re the largest independent telecommunications company in Canada, with 700 employees, 500 of which are here in Chatham-Kent.”
Greenfield Global and NatureFresh Farms each donated $25,000 towards the IPM.
Pledging $15,000 in funding or in-kind sponsorship are Abstract Marketing, AGRIS Co-operative Ltd., Clarke Drainage, Delta Power Equipment, Kucera Group, Nature’s Finest Produce/Kejay Farms, St. Clair College & Alumni, and Truly Green Farms/Cedarline Greenhouses.
Sponsors on board at $10,000 are BF Environmental, Collins Barrow Chatham, BDO Chatham, Gillier Drainage, and Impact Graphics and Signs.