Edmonton Fringe Festival volunteers use their vacation days to help out

Edmonton Fringe Festival thrives because of dedicated volunteers
WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton's Fringe Festival gets underway Thursday night and as Kendra Slugoski explains, the massive event relies on the generosity of its many volunteers.

Claudine Drouin has one goal this summer: beat last year’s Fringe-watching record, which sits at 34.

Drouin plans to tackle the challenge while volunteering for the Edmonton International Fringe Festival for the ninth year.

WATCH: Edmonton International Fringe Festival 2017 show ratings and live eye cam 

She took vacation time and travelled from Fort McMurray.

“I can’t sing, dance or act but I appreciate everybody else that can,” she said with a laugh.

“I just like supporting the arts because hey, they’ve got more balls to do it than I do!”

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Edmonton’s 36th annual Fringe Fesitval depends on volunteers like Drouin.

READ MORE: Edmonton International Fringe Festival expects to continue momentum after record-breaking year 

They are needed for everything from manning crosswalks to billeting performers and helping out in the beer tents.

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So far this year, 1,100 people have signed up over the 10-day event but more are needed.

Volunteer headquarters at the Edmonton Fringe Festival.August 17, 2017
Volunteer headquarters at the Edmonton Fringe Festival.August 17, 2017 Kendra Slugoski

Abi Tedder, the Fringe volunteer coordinator, isn’t sure what to expect.

Tedder came to Edmonton in March from the world’s oldest Fringe Festival in Edinburgh (70 years) but said Edmonton’s Fringe is famous too.

“I don’t think I’ve every worked anywhere where people genuinely love something so much and are passionate about it,” he said.

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“They would give their annual leave allowance to come and volunteer.”

FULL COVERAGE: Fort McMurray Wildfire 

Last year’s Fringe was an escape for Drouin, who lost her job following the wildfires in Fort McMurray.

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Her home was saved, but many of her friends’ houses were destroyed. It was a stressful time.

“You want to get back to normal.”

Drouin found a new job and didn’t think twice about using her vacation time to volunteer again.

As for fitting in more than 34 shows this year, Drouin has it all mapped out.

“I’ve got tabs for each venue, I’ve got markers, I’ve got schedules. So sometimes I’m seeing eight, nine shows a day.”

“You’re running from one to the other. You’ve got to plan this out.”

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READ MORE: What’s it like to volunteer at the Edmonton fringe festival? Ask this 35-year veteran

Volunteers can sign up online or stop by the volunteer headquarters on the festival site.

Perks include free tickets to shows, food and a wrap-up party.

The Fringe runs from Aug. 17 to 27.