Opening Day at the Vermont Summer Festival

Thursday, July 7, 2011
Posted by Jennifer Ward, Starting Gate Communications


East Dorset, Vermont — The annual Vermont Summer Festival opened on Wednesday, July 6, at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.  The six-week equestrian competition runs from July 6 through August 14, 2011.

A total of 1,200 stalls have been erected in preparation for the horses that will be competing at this year’s Vermont Summer Festival.  Offering more than $750,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival is the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont.
Opening week will feature the $10,000 The Bird Place Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Friday, July 8.  In addition to their share of the prize money, the winner will also receive a $1,000 gift card for The Vermont Bird Place and Skywatch.

Grand Prix Sunday is the highlight each week of the Vermont Summer Festival.  Opening week will feature the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, presented by The Equinox Resort and Spa on Sunday, July 10.  The Equinox is celebrating its 10th year as a presenting sponsor at the Vermont Summer Festival, and will host an Exhibitor Party to welcome horse show participants back to the Manchester area.

Weekly exhibitor parties, hosted by competition organizers John and Dotty Ammerman, are part of the charm that the Vermont Summer Festival is famous for.  In addition to The Equinox, exhibitor parties will be held at perennial family favorites, Bromley Adventure Park and Riley Rink, as well as the historical Dorset Inn and Hildene estate.

On-site at the horse show, the food and beverage options have been expanded, with the addition of a barbeque concession conveniently located between the show jumping and hunter competition rings.  The VIP area offers shaded seating overlooking the all-weather Grand Prix ring.  Shopping can be enjoyed at such local concessions as Flying Cow custom signs, Ptarmigan, and Oughton, as well as equine-related retailers Oak Manor, JOD, Devoucoux, Parlanti, The Collection, and Stablemates.

The first five Sundays of the Vermont Summer Festival feature a $30,000 Grand Prix at 1 p.m., culminating with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 14.  In addition to the $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, held each Friday, the weekly $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Classics are hotly contested. New for 2011, the Vermont Summer Festival will host a $5,000 Hunter Derby five of the six weeks.

Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday.  There is no competition on Monday or Tuesday.  Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children, Wednesday through Saturday.  On Grand Prix Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children.  As always, 100 percent of the gate proceeds benefit the Friends Foundation for MEMS (Manchester Elementary and Middle School).

For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region each summer.  For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: or visit

Photo:  Opening day of the 2011 Vermont Summer Festival horse show, held July 6 through August 14 in East Dorset, Vermont.  Photo credit - David Mullinix Photography