Sussex, NB – During the 2006 event season the Princess Louise Park Show Centre in Sussex, New Brunswick experienced an increase of more than 10% in the number of events, and subsequently the number of event-days, with almost every week-end from early May through to late October booked for some type of agriculture-related show, competition, clinic or event. The average number of animals per event also increased by over 32%.

As eastern Canada’s only dedicated agricultural show centre, the Princess Louise Park Show Centre has hosted a wide variety of family-oriented agricultural shows this season. From breed shows for both horses and cattle to 4-H events to sport-specific competitions (e.g. Western riding, Dressage, etc.) the 2-year-old Arena has been packed with activity and an ever-increasing number of spectators.

The number of people directly involved (not including spectators) in the events increased by 42.6% from 2005 to 2006 alone. If each of those 6700 people spent an average of $140 (the figure used by the Quarter Horse Association for determining economic impact) per day on accommodations, meals and purchases, the direct contribution to the Sussex area economy would be in the millions of dollars.

More than 1000 tons of sawdust and manure is handled at the PLP Show Centre each year. It’s not something that most people would either notice or think about,” said PLP Show Centre Manager, Ceci Flanagan-Snow, “but we handle a lot of ‘stuff’ every week-end.”

Referring to the vast quantities of sawdust used for bedding the animals at each of the shows and clinics throughout the event season, Flanagan-Snow said, “This year we brought in more than 40 large loads of sawdust for bedding the stalls for the animals. Each load weighs between nine and eleven tons for a grand total of over 400 tons of sawdust.

“Horses generate an average of 75 pounds of manure daily. Cattle and other large livestock are probably in the same ball park. That, plus the weight of urine soaked bedding means that our staff (three highly valued summer students plus some dedicated volunteers) have removed over 622 tons of soiled bedding and manure.”

Every inch of the four, 50-stall, multi-use barn buildings is cleaned and swept by hand. The IH Case tractor, donated annually for the past five years by Arbing Equipment Ltd., is used to carry the piles from the barns to the dumpsters for disposal. The soiled bedding and manure is trucked away for composting – turning waste into valuable and fertile topsoil.

Bookings are already being confirmed for the 2007 show season, and some into 2008. Ralph Cunningham, Chair of the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization that owns and operates the facility said “Being strategically located between Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John means that the Centre is easily accessed by road. The events draw participants from the three Maritime Provinces, Quebec, Ontario and beyond, and from the North Eastern United States, on a regular basis.”