Yoho Blow Days has been running for what co-organizer Craig Chapman believes to be over 30 years, but it’s safe to say the annual festival in Field is about to get its biggest dose of national attention in 2015.
That will come via this year’s special guest: comedian Rick Mercer, one of the CBC’s most popular on-air personalities.
On Sunday, Mercer will film a segment for The Rick Mercer Report from the festival after Chapman invited him to check out what the event had to offer.
Mercer says Yoho Blow Days features various activities that make it a natural fit for his hit comedy show including a downhill race on cross country skis and human bowling.
“A perfect segment for an RMR show is interesting people doing fun things in a beautiful setting. Obviously I think we’ve covered all those bases,” Mercer said.
“It just sounds like it would be a laugh.”
Other highlights from the three-day festival, which runs from Jan 23-25, include a pond hockey tournament, a Christmas tree bonfire and a Saturday night dance and concert featuring Vancouver’s The River and the Road.
“The population of Field is in decline so in some ways you’d think the festival (would be too) but in actual fact it’s kind of brought the community together and the festival is more popular than ever…people love it,” Chapman said.
Mercer got his start in television with the satirical This Hour has 22 Minutes in 1992 and has visited countless communities across Canada since he began work on his own show in 2003, but that doesn’t mean the job has gotten stale for him. Far from it.
“I think (some people) would get tired of it but I haven’t unpacked in 12 years and I’m quite fine with that,” he said. “I think it’s a real privilege to get to see the country the way I get to see the country.”
During a typical on-location shoot, Mercer will immerse himself in that region’s culture while interviewing locals and discovering what makes them tick. From racing homemade bobsleds in Rossland, B.C. to a polar bear safari in Churchill, Man., Mercer has experienced things that many Canadians can only dream of and believes that is part of what makes his show so popular.
“I think a lot of people watch the show because they live vicariously through me in some ways. Because it is such a big country it’s impossible to travel it the way I travel it and have a life at the same time,” he said.
While he can’t say exactly when the segment from Field will air, Mercer said locals won’t have to wait very long.
“It can actually air on television in a matter of days or in a matter of weeks but it’s always fairly quickly. By TV standards we move like a rocket.”
Much like an individual on cross country skis might move while travelling down an icy slope, as Mercer is sure to discover shortly.