Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vancouver's Fair - the 2009 PNE

I grew up in a small town where the "Fall Fair" was a big deal not only to a town kid like me but to all the surrounding farmers - ready for a trip to town to show off their prize-winning Clydesdales, Holsteins and let their 4-H farm kids parade the favourite calf or pony round the ring in front of judges and an appreciative grandstand.


I thought the 4-Hers were definitely quaint in their pressed white smocks but I was not so hip that I didn't enjoy perusing the quilts, handicrafts, pies, cakes, chickens and rabbits to see if the right one got the blue ribbon. Today, I still enjoy the livestock barns and a peek at the people who work very hard to grow our food and somehow make a living. A trip to the PNE is a reminder of a goggle-eyed youth taking in the sideshows, midway and the carney life. I probably saw my first tattoo on some greasy bad-ass ride-operator.

Photo courtesy of Heritage Vancouver

Times have changed and still they haven't. The PNE offers a whole summer of Playland excitement, rides and amusement. The 1958 wooden roller-coaster is one of the world's remaining classics for coaster afficianados. Only a few years ago, it was a threatened structure but money was found to restore it to its original glory for it's fiftieth anniversary in 2008. Over half a million thrill-seekers take the ride every year.

People go to the fair for the all too cute Superdogs show, for nightly live song and dance performances like Celtic Legends or the pyro-musical spectacular Kaboom. Then there is a roster of scheduled performances from the likes of Al Jarreau, Chris Isaak, En Vogue, Rick Springfield and Canadian rockers, Chilliwack.

Me? I also go to the fair for the mini-donuts, the super-mops and all the latest gadgets. But since it's a rare event, I might once again take in the world-famous equestrian event - the RCMP "Musical Ride".

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