East Dorset, Vermont — The Vermont Summer Festival, the richest sporting event in the state, has a huge economic impact on the state of Vermont and the Manchester area with approximately $18 million spent locally on goods and services throughout the duration of the six-week competition.
With approximately 1,000 horses competing each week at the Vermont Summer Festival running July 7 to August 15 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.
For many competitors and their friends and family, shopping at the many outlet stores in the Manchester area has become a second sport. Combined with other leisure pursuits including theater, sporting activities, and antique hunting, not to mention buying goods and services directly related to competing at the horse show, it is conservatively estimated that each person spends approximately $150 per day, pumping a significant number of dollars into the Vermont economy.
The horse show itself, including management as well as on-site food and commercial vendors, also rely on local businesses to ensure the six-week event, the largest of its kind in New England, is a success.
“As the organizers, we do a lot of business with the people here,” John D. Ammerman, Manager of the Vermont Summer Festival. “We buy products ranging from footing for our five competitions rings as well as schooling areas, to propane and diesel fuel. We buy horse feed from a local company, and hire local mechanics to service our equipment. We also drilled a new well this year, with the work performed by a local business operator. We also have significant lodging expenses, as the majority of our staff, ranging from office workers to judges to crew, come from out of town and require accommodation. And these are just a few examples. All and all, we do a lot of business locally.”
In addition to supporting local businesses, the Vermont Summer Festival show management hosts weekly parties for competitors at various Manchester area locations. In 2010, exhibitor parties will be staged at The Equinox, Bromley Sun Mountain Adventure Park, Riley Rink, The Dorset Inn, and Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home. This introduces horse show competitors and their families to the wide range of activities that the area has to offer.
“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 local area attractions,” said Ruth Lacey, Marketing Director for the Vermont Summer Festival. “The feedback we receive from our clientele is that they truly enjoy and appreciate the family atmosphere, and that keeps them coming back year after year. Many combine their time showing at the Vermont Summer Festival with family holidays.
“When you are away from home, whether it is for competition, work, or vacation, having local businesses offer high quality products and services become extremely important,” continued Lacey. “Local businesses that welcome the Vermont Summer Festival patrons, as well as the horse show management and its staff, see their commitment rewarded with strong business.
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 annual horse show. The new faces are looking to shop, sample the numerous restaurants, and enjoy the myriad of amenities available in the Manchester area.
Now in its 19th year at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, the Vermont Summer Festival 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 Vermont Summer Festival runs for six consecutive weeks, from July 7 to August 15, and features a Grand Prix each Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. This year’s event ends with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 15.
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). Please e-mail us or visit our website for more information about the Vermont Summer Festival.