The Vermont Summer Festival officially kicked off the 2019 season on Wednesday, July 3, marking the start of six weeks of not only hunter, jumper, and equitation competition, but also plenty of family-friendly entertainment, that continues through August 11 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Equestrian athletes spanning the levels from the pony ranks to the grand prix have converged at the Vermont Summer Festival for fierce competition in a relaxed and welcoming environment. From the future stars of horse sport to young mounts stepping up and seasoned show jumpers scoring big wins in the Grand Prix Ring, every rider and horse sport fan will have something to enjoy at the Vermont Summer Festival this season.
“The Vermont Summer Festival is back, better than ever, and we are all looking forward to a wonderful season,” said John Ammerman, Manager of the Vermont Summer Festival. “Our exhibitors genuinely enjoy their time in southern Vermont, and we are proud to offer such a popular event in a location that is rich with entertainment and recreational opportunities.”
Now in its 26th year, the Vermont Summer Festival offers a dynamic competition schedule while also giving competitors an opportunity to enjoy the wide variety of entertainment, recreation, shopping, and dining options offered in Dorset, Manchester, and the surrounding area. A recent study conducted by the Center for Rural Studies at the University of Vermont cited that the total direct spending of visitors frequenting Vermont for equine-related activities is estimated at nearly $15.5 million annually.
Weekly offerings at the Vermont Summer Festival include the $10,000 Open Welcome, held each Thursday, and the $30,000 Grand Prix, held the first five Saturdays of the six-week circuit before the season culminates in a $50,000 Grand Prix on Saturday, August 10, during the final weekend. Additionally, jumper riders can celebrate the return of a $10,000 Open Jumper Rider Bonus, presented by World Equestrian Center, to be divided among the top-scoring open jumper competitors during the six-week circuit.
Popular “Equitation Tuesdays” give junior riders opportunities to earn points toward year-end equitation finals, while hunter competitors are showcased in the $5,000 3'3" NEHJA Hunter Derbies each Thursday. Hunter competition is highlighted by a $15,000 finale on Thursday, August 8, after riders soak up the spotlight throughout World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week during the third week of competition.
Setting the stage for the fierce competition in the show ring are the course designers at the Vermont Summer Festival, and they are some of the best in the world. Gerry Briggs (USA); Manuel Esparza (MEX), who served as part of the course building team at the 2016 Olympic Games; Paul Jewell (USA); Ken Krome (USA); 1976 Olympic individual silver medalist Michel Vaillancourt (CAN); and 2018 World Equestrian Games course designer Alan Wade (IRL) will all take a turn building courses for Vermont Summer Festival riders.
Competition at the 2019 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $5 for adults and children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children with 100 percent of all gate proceeds benefiting Dorset Equine Rescue, The Dorset School, and Manchester Community Library.
The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). For more information on the Vermont Summer Festival, please visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.