Ready to wrap a ‘work in progress’
BY ANGELA BROWN
News Staff It takes about 1,000 volunteers to prepare and run the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo.
North Glengarry Mayor Chris McDonell, who is also a retired police detective, was pleased to offer his expertise to help assist people working the admission gates during the event, and manage the crowds.
Volunteers Terry Brownell and Vic Burns will handle security issues as members of the site protection committee.
Mr. McDonell and Ian Murphy are co-chairing the gates/ticket sales committee. “We’re in charge of the gates, looking after the money and the people at the gates,” said Mr. McDonell.
Organizers are planning to have four gates operating with seven or eight people running each gate, for each shift.
“For five days you are talking quite a few people,” said Mr. McDonell.
Involved in planning this part of the work for the IPM for the past two years, Mr. McDonell also helped at the IPM when it ws held in Chuteà-Blondeau, near Hawkesbury, in 2011.
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Rob McDonald, of North Lancaster, will be plowing at the match for the week, and is also volunteering on the tractor park committee. He said the entire organizing process started four years ago.
Mr. McDonald is excited about showcasing some of the early farming equipment. “It’s what started things off,” he said, adding much of the old equipment still works fine. He has been helping with IPM projects since 1994. “I like the camaraderie of it,” he said.
Volunteer committee chair Bill McGimpsey said organizers have reached their goal in recruiting a large squadron of volunteers. “We will find something for everyone to do if we have more volunteers come in,” he added.
Some of the bigger committees will be controlling traffic, managing the parking area, and shuttling people from the parking areas to the event site.
Mr. McGimpsey said there are almost 300 people on one team of volunteers who are responsible for shuttling people to the event grounds.
Other groups are working at the RV park for campers and
it,” Mr. McDonell preparing the site.
Mr. McGimpsey said some people have been volunteering for the past two years or more.
“It’s been an amazing leadup to it, and quite a work-inprogress,” he added. He pointed out people need to have the required skills to do certain work as a volunteer, such as volunteering as a driver. “We are doing our best to accommodate everyone,” he added.
Mr. McGimpsey is especially impressed with the number of people who have volunteered to help with the plowing match, given the vast scope of the project. “This is the culture we have,” he said. “You look at the Williamstown Fair or the Avonmore Fair, and most of the major functions, they wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the volunteers.”
“It will be the first time a lot of us have done this at the IPM -- that is the biggest challenge,” Mr. McGimpsey said. “It’s the first time I have ever worked with over 1,000 volunteers. It’s the first time we have ever done this. I find it exciting, and we are going to make it the best IPM ever.”