‘Excited to be back’: Vancouver Island Exhibition in Nanaimo returns better than ever

'Excited to be back': Vancouver Island Exhibition in Nanaimo returns better than ever

The Vancouver Island Exhibition (VIEx) is back in Nanaimo this weekend and it’s promising a full line-up of events after the COVID-19 pandemic altered plans the last two years.

The VIEx, a three-day attraction for all ages, dates back to 1894.

The midway, super dogs and mainstage musical acts are part of what event-goers have come to love and organizers say this year, people are going to see all that plus much more at the fair.

“Number one is that we have a full-fledged fair again this year. Because of COVID the last few years, we’ve had to have kind of a reduced event, so we’re extremely excited to be back to normal,” said Stephen Kass, president of the VI Exhibition.

The Mainstage Musical Acts feature Jesse Roper, Jo Jo Mason and the Timebenders.

But the exhibition has always been rooted in agriculture and this year is no exception.

“We have sanctioned rabbit shows and goats shows this year so those shows are a little larger than normal. They’ll be bringing animals from all over western Canada and possibly even the U.S.,” said Kass.

The Vancouver Island Goat Association says they’re hosting the west national goat show at VIEx after three years of planning.

“Tomorrow will be the 2022 Canadian Goat Society West national goat show. It starts at 9:30 in the morning and we have six breeds represented. We’re super excited about that. We have official shows for five of the six breeds,” said show chairman Ted Brooks.

Another show pleaser will be the West Coast Vaulters. Training out of Qualicum Beach, 15 young gymnasts between 5 to 31 years of age will be showing what they can do while riding a horse.

“We love coming here because it’s local,” said Vaulters coach Jessica Bentzen.

“We do tons of competitions but not a lot on the Island so nice to have everybody’s friends and family come out and watch them perform and also to show our sport off a little bit. It’s still not super well known in the area so we like to have new people come out and see what we’re all about.”

With a favourable weather forecast, VIEx organizers are expecting more than their average 20,000 people through the gates this weekend.

For the full schedule of events check the VI Exhibition website here.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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