East Dorset, Vermont — The Vermont Summer Festival, the largest equestrian competition held in New England, has a huge economic impact on the state of Vermont and the Manchester area with approximately $20 million spent locally on goods and services throughout the duration of the six-week competition.
With approximately 1,200 horses competing each week at the Vermont Summer Festival running July 9 to August 17 in East Dorset, VT, and approximately 3,000 people related to the horse show visiting the area on a daily basis, the impact on the local hotel and restaurant industry is considerable. Shopping at the many outlets offered in the Manchester area has become a second sport for the horse show enthusiasts and, combined with the other leisure pursuits offered in the Manchester area including theater, sporting activities, and antique hunting, it is conservatively estimated that each person spends approximately $150 per day, pumping a significant number of dollars into the Vermont economy.
While some competitors choose to remain in the Manchester area for the entire six week duration of the Vermont Summer Festival, some come only for a portion of the time, allowing turnover among the competitors anxious to attend the sold-out event. The new faces are looking to shop, sample the numerous restaurants, and enjoy the myriad of amenities available in the Manchester area.
Competitors also enjoy Manchester hospitality through the weekly exhibitor parties hosted by the Vermont Summer Festival. Each Wednesday during the six-week competition, all horse show attendees are invited to the ‘Exhibitor Party’ staged at various locations in the area. An annual skating party at Riley Rink has proven popular with families, as has the grand finale at The Equinox Resort & Spa, which is also a sponsor of the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, to be held this year on Sunday, July 27.
“As the organizers of the Vermont Summer Festival, John and Dotty Ammerman have made it a priority to make all competitors feel welcome while, at the same time, exposing them to the area’s attractions,” said Ruth Lacey, Marketing Executive for the Vermont Summer Festival. “The weekly exhibitor parties are something that our horse show is known for, and the feedback we receive from our clientele is that they truly enjoy and appreciate the family atmosphere promoted by our competition.”
The Vermont Summer Festival, held at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, Vermont, offers more than $750,000 in prize money throughout the six weeks of competition, making it the richest sporting event in the state. Each week features a Friday $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, sponsored by Manchester Designer Outlets, and a Sunday Grand Prix, several of which are sponsored by local businesses that recognize and appreciate the important impact that the horse show competitors have on the local area.
“The immense economic impact that the Vermont Summer Festival has on the Manchester and surrounding areas of Vermont cannot be overlooked,” noted John D. Ammerman, Manager of the Vermont Summer Festival. “In addition to a first-rate horse show, many competitors choose to come to Vermont due to the wide variety of amenities offered in the area. Shopping, great restaurants, and a wide selection of bed and breakfasts and country inns attract those looking for a more complete horse show experience. And it is largely because of these local businesses that offer high quality products and services that the Vermont Summer Festival patrons keep coming back year after year.”
Now in its 15th year at the Harold Bebee Farm location, the 2008 Vermont Summer Festival will most likely break attendance records for the number of horses competing during the six weeks of competition. More horses competing directly results in more dollars being spent in the local economy.
The grand finale of the six-week Vermont Summer Festival is the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 17. Visit the Vermont Summer Festival website for more information, including full results.