East Dorset, Vermont — The annual Vermont Summer Festival horse show officially opened on Wednesday, July 7, at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, Vermont, kicking off six weeks of top hunter and jumper competition.
Running July 7 through August 15, 2010, the Vermont Summer Festival offers more than $750,000 in prize money, making it the richest sporting event based on purse in the state. The largest “AA” rated hunter/jumper horse show in New England, the Vermont Summer Festival attracts the best athletes, including Olympic medalists, from across the country and around the globe to vie for top honors.
Opening day saw soaring temperatures, along with even hotter competition. Operating at full capacity, the Vermont Summer Festival sees approximately 1,200 horses competing each week. Constant improvements keep competitors coming back to the Vermont Summer Festival year after year, and 2010 is no exception. Improved features for this year’s event, held for the 19th year at Harold Beebe Farm, include an upgraded wash rack area for bathing horses, new footing in two of the schooling areas, and elevated paddock areas which decrease the chance for flooding in the case of heavy rain.
“Our entries for opening week are up more than 40 percent and, based on the demand for week two, we will be erecting more stabling tents to accommodate the swell of entries, which bodes well for a fantastic summer of competition,” said Ruth Lacey, Vermont Summer Festival Marketing Director. “Each year, we strive to make improvements for the comfort of our athletes, both human and equine, and our commitment to improving the show experience is greatly appreciated by the competitors. When coupled with the fact that the Manchester area features something for everyone; recreation, shopping, and beautiful natural surroundings, we believe that the Vermont Summer Festival offers the best all-around showing experience.”
Hospitality is another key element that keeps people coming back to the Vermont Summer Festival. Competition organizers John and Dotty Ammerman host a weekly exhibitor party each Wednesday at various locations which highlight the wide variety of activities and amenities available in the Manchester area, including Riley Rink and Bromley Sun Mountain Adventure Park.
When competition is done for the day, the horse show participants have a huge impact on the local economy between restaurants, lodging, shopping and other amenities. It is estimated that approximately $20 million will be spent locally on goods and services in the Manchester area throughout the duration of the six-week competition.
The first five Sundays of the Vermont Summer Festival feature a $30,000 Grand Prix, culminating with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 15. Weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake classes, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, and weekly $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Classics are also hotly contested. New for 2010, the Vermont Summer Festival will host a World Championship Hunter Rider qualifying event during week three.
Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children Wednesday through Saturday. On Grand Prix Sunday, admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children. All gate proceeds benefit Manchester Elementary-Middle School (MEMS).
The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall Of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
Photo: A competitor with her horse on opening day at the Vermont Summer Festival. Photo credit - David Mullinix Photography