COMOX VALLEY, B.C. – Volunteers fuel the success of any event and the Comox Valley’s longest running festival needs a whole bunch of them.

With the theme Dog Days & Heritage Ways, the 144th edition of the Comox Valley Exhibition (CVEX) is Aug. 24 to 26 and CVEX president Mike Trimble is calling out for helpers.

“Lots!” Trimble exclaimed, when asked how many volunteers are needed with the CVEX less than three weeks away.

“I don’t have an exact number but I know it’s lots.”

There are a variety of positions needing to be filled over the three days at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds.

“You can work at the trout pond, you can help at the poultry barn, you can help at the home and garden show, we are always interested in people helping with setup and take-down… carpenters, we’re always in need of fixing doors and putting up the ticket booths,” Trimble said.

Like most other events, it’s a struggle to gather enough volunteers, Trimble said.

“Especially for an organization like us where we can’t really offer that much in the way of a thank-you,” Trimble said. “We are this year presenting a wine-cheese-chocolate Thursday night get-together before the exhibition opens on the 23rd (of August) because we have the art gallery coming this year.”

Volunteers can register by visiting cvex.ca, emailing info@cvex.ca, or calling 250-338-8177.

While there are subtle changes each year, the CVEX’s philosophy remains the same: a celebration of agriculture.

“We have the 4-H group, we have the poultry barn, the home and garden show celebrates backyard vegetables, garlic, honey, zucchini…,” Trimble said.

Agriculture aside, the list of events is a long and eclectic one, with the spotlight this year shining on the RCMP Musical Ride.

Admission includes a chance to see the ride, with performance times at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 24 and Saturday, Aug. 25 and 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 26.

The ride is one of a host of features this year.

“We have the Cups For Cancer which is barrel racing all weekend long and everybody wears a bra,” Trimble said. “This year they hope to cross the $60,000 line in the last five-plus years.”

Antique machinery featuring tractors through the years, cattle sorting, logger sports, live entertainment, pro wrestling matches, classic cars, a Volkswagen car show, first responders, and the always popular dog dock jumping are part of CVEX this year.

“They actually compete for the weekend, diving off a dock,” Trimble said, about the dog diving. “They bring in a 28-foot (trailer), they put together a 40-foot pool, the pool is four-feet deep, and the dogs dive off of it, competing in category of height, weight and so forth, to see what dog can actually jump the furthest into the pool.”

The jump record is 28 feet.

While he says the highlight of the event is “the whole 40 acres,” Trimble is especially excited about the Pure Wrestling Alliance performers going to battle in front of an exhibition audience.

“We’ve got wrestling,” he said. “And you’re going to say, ‘What’s that got to do with agriculture? I have no idea but you know what? More family entertainment. While your wife is at the home and garden show looking at the quilt competition and where are you? You’re at the wrestling to watch the wrestlers from Campbell River.”

For a full schedule, admission rates, and to access volunteer application forms, click here.