Kawartha Downs goes all-in for its 50th anniversary.

The racetrack released its 2022 lineup and gave details of the master plan to revitalize the facility over the next 18 months with entertainment facilities announced on Wednesday.

Richard Weldon, managing director of Kawartha Downs, represented the subsidiary of Romspen Financial Corp. at Wednesday’s press conference. Photo by David Tuan Bui.

Romspen Investment Corp. — the Kawartha Downs branch — has approved the master plan which is a $30-50 million investment that will require provincial and federal support as part of a three-part plan.

The track is building several new pieces of equipment, including:

  • Large open-air concert hall with a capacity of 15,000 people

  • A covered concert hall with 3,000 to 4,000 seats

  • A large-scale permanent tractor-pull facility with a spectator capacity of over 5,000 people

  • A new convertible horse/cattle space and exhibition space

  • A hotel with 220 rooms

  • An outdoor FIFA soccer field

  • More than 4000 parking spaces

Richard Weldon, managing director of Kawartha Downs, says the project will not just become a tourist hub, but a way to generate year-round employment opportunities.

“That’s where we want people to stay,” Weldon said. “They are growing up here, we have housing to support them but we have a major employment event here, we have all kinds of events, we have entertainment and we have everything to keep people staying.”

The Downs will experiment with creating opportunities for small businesses such as a pop-up upscale steakhouse, Friday night rib parties with local dancing and entertainment, and a newly renovated retro restaurant.

The track’s opening day will be May 28 and will include a classic car show with over 200 vehicles from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., a Kim Mitchell concert at 2 p.m., harness racing at 6 p.m. and a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. — which will also be shown again on July 2-3 and August 5 — which features $100,000 worth of fireworks across four screens.

July 2 will feature a retro music festival and fireworks display. The next day will be a Country and Western Music Festival with fireworks in the evening.

On August 5, the Downs will hold a tractor raffle, agricultural fair, country/western concert to be announced and the final fireworks display.

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