The Vermont Summer Festival returns to its East Dorset home at Harold Beebe Farm on July 7th to bring smiles to local shopkeepers for a six-week run.
The show, which has been a fixture in the region for nearly three decades, runs through August 15.
While it came as no surprise given the 2020 pandemic restrictions, the loss of the annual equestrian tournament due to the pandemic eliminated one of the region’s biggest economic engines of the summer.
His return will fill rooms, restaurants, and tills throughout the summer.
The Vermont Summer Festival pumps an estimated $ 15.5 million in direct spending into the local economy each year, based on a study by the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies.
Other studies have estimated the economic impact on the area at $ 15 to 20 million.
While the spending is spread across the area, Manchester sees a large percentage of it with its abundance of accommodations, restaurants, grocery stores, and shopping.
“Needless to say, Manchester missed the 2020 horse show,” said Manchester Town Manager John O’Keefe. “The 2020 horse show cancellation, along with many other cancellations, had a real impact on the region and Manchester in terms of general vitality and energy as well as economic activity. It’s wonderful to see events like the horse show return in 2021 when things normalize and open up again. “
This year’s fair is the first under new management.
The show was directed by John Ammerman for decades, but is now run in partnership with HITS, Inc. of Saugerties, New York, owned by Tom Struzzieri.
In a previous press release, the new owners announced a partnership with Ammerman, saying HITS would be reigning show management for the Vermont Summer Festival and the show would continue in 2021 and beyond.
It describes the Vermont Summer Festival as “decades of show jumping on the east coast”.
“Our history goes back decades,” said Struzzieri, President and CEO of HITS, of the relationship between him and Ammerman. “I am thrilled to be part of what John created in Vermont and to continue the history and tradition of this route. It is flattering that John is using me and HITS to run these events on his behalf. I am confident that we can live up to the trust he has in HITS. “
The show is known for attracting attendees from far and wide, who come for the area’s unique beauty and atmosphere.
Shelby Magee, sponsorship and marketing coordinator for HITS, said it was important for the new management to keep this up.
“We definitely want to keep the feeling,” said Magee. “We are very aware that there are many long-time visitors to the Vermont Summer Festival and we don’t want to take away what they loved. People obviously want to be in Vermont. We have already seen that in our numbers. “
But Magee said the new management will bring some changes, mostly, she said, to the facilities.
“We’re different managers so we want to bring in our specialty,” said Magree. “We want to find a good balance. It feels like being loved, but we want to bring some updates and find some improvements. “
Some of these improvements include new fences for the display rings and drains and an improved booth in all display rings and school areas, many with the popular booth that HITS brings from its Balmoral Park facility.
Magee said registrations were great and the stalls were almost completely sold out by the registration deadline for each week.
“We’re all very excited,” said Magee. “This is really exciting and encouraging. Not only are we enthusiastic, but also the exhibitors. “
According to the show schedule, the Vermont Summer Festival offers an all-inclusive program with hunter, jumping and riding classes, including the popular “Equitation Tuesdays” program.
Classes on offer include two grand prix per week, one grand prix valued at $ 25,000 on Friday, and one grand prix valued at $ 40,000 on Sunday.