Friday, September 10, 2010

The Fair at the PNE - Celebrating 100 Years of Fun

Last weekend was our last chance to go to "The Fair" at the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE). The PNE turned 100 this year and we were not going to miss it. We decided not to do rides because there's so much to do and the lines for the rides are so long. Plus, after the two week "Fair" is over "Playland", with most of the rides, stays open. So, we promised the girls we would go back to Playland some other day to do rides.

The first order of business when we arrived was to get cotton candy. Sasha said she had never had it before, which I found hard to believe and totally unacceptable.

As we munched on cotton candy, we listened to Dal Richard's Orchestra. We were also waiting for The Peking Acrobats show to start. Karla graciously waited in line for us while the girls and I listened to Dal's 70th consecutive appearance at PNE. 70 years in a row! This man is a Vancouver legend. 91 years old and still going strong. We only got to hear a few songs (Mack the Knife was one) and then we had to go join Karla in line for The Peking Acrobats.

This show was worth the price of admission by itself. Absolutely amazing.

The ladies would spin these tables (and other objects too) on their feet. And then, while spinning them, they'd throw them to each other. It was crazy!

These boys looked to be about 11 or 12 years old.

The ladies again, this time spinning plates while doing crazy balancing acts.

This guy was nuts. These chairs are balanced on 4 empty wine bottles at the bottom. Then, he'd stack them and climb up.

I thought that was crazy enough, but then he did this: balancing one-handed, with the top chair leaning (not stacked nicely on top), at least 20 feet in the air . . . with NO SPOTTER. It was so high up, I couldn't get the whole thing in the picture. When he got down, you could literally hear everyone finally breathe again.

Ellie liked this one a lot. They're all balanced on one bike, riding in circles.

After the acrobats show, Dal Richards had another set, so we stopped to listen again. This time, he was joined by Jim Byrnes, who is an amazing blues singer. I really enjoyed this.

And so did Sasha apparently . . .

Okay, off to see some pig races. Only, it ended up being a single pig race, which took about 20 minutes to build up to, and about 10 seconds flat to actually race.

Here's how you get people to wait 20 minutes for a 10 second pig race. Pick four people out of the audience, force them to dress up like pigs, teach them to call a pig ("sooooo-eeee"), divide the crowd into four teams, get the crowd to cheer for their pig leader, etc, etc. Oh, and say "Are you sure you want to see a pig race? I can't hear you. Are you REALLY sure you want to see a pig race?" about 20 times. You gotta really drag it out baby!

Finally! The pigs are off. And 10 seconds later, our pig won.

There was an exhibit at the Fair called Container Art. We think that Auntie Corina and Uncle Jason would really have enjoyed this.

This one was cool. It's four chairs and a table, only the table is a flat screen displaying a movie loop of people's arms playing with scrabble pieces. If you sit down and put your arms on your lap and look down, it feels like the moving arms are your own arms. Weird. How do you even think of trying that?

There was an international sand-sculpture competition that had been completed several days earlier. There were about 15 entries and they were all amazing. I don't know how the judges could decide who should win. Unfortunately, it had rained a bit, so they were a bit damaged. But they still amazed us.

This was the 3rd place winner.

And here's the winner.

We saw these guys at the Forks once, about 2 or 3 years ago. They're very funny. "The Chairmen" they're called. They do a 20 minute comedy routine with plastic patio chairs. The routine hasn't changed; neither have the jokes. Makes you wonder if they still have fun doing it. Same jokes day after day after day.

4:30 p.m. - time for the daily parade. We got good seats right at the side of the road.

Superdogs. The girls love the Superdogs. We've seen them at the Royal Canadian Winter Fair in Brandon. Twice. But we had to see them again.

Time for supper. The girls had pizza and Karla and I had a fantastic butter chicken from Curry in a Hurry.

We did not try the "deep fried butter". Yuck.

This was actually just before Superdogs. Candy Nation was in the concourse of the arena where the Superdogs show was. Lots of interesting displays and facts about candy and of course a candy store where you could get just about any kind of candy from your early childhood. The girls each got a bag of Jelly Bellies.

To close out the day, a loud, bright and hot pyrotechnics/dance show called "Kaboom". The show takes you on a musical tour from 1910 until 2010. Elvis, The Beattles, disco, etc, etc. It was a spectacular way to end a spectacular day.

Oh, I forgot to mention the Kettle Corn. Thanks to our friend Adrian Wortley, who introduced us to this highly addictive treat at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, we just had to get two large bags of Kettle Corn. It's the perfect combination of salty and sweet. Better than caramel corn. No pics of Kettle Corn though - too busy eating it and picking the kernels out of my teeth.

Okay, I think that covers the PNE. At least until we go back to Playland to do the rides.


  1. Mmmmm kettle corn. MMMMMmmmmmm love it. So yummy. MMMMMMMmmmmmm.

    (I just hope that missing the deep fried butter won't be your one big regret from this year.)


    p.s. mmmmMMMMMMMMmmmm kettle corn...

  2. That is one jam-packed day of fun! Whew.