PNE: Fair Thee Well

Check out the Craft Beer Festival, '80s legends Chicago, Canada's Hockey Hall of Fame and much, much more at this year's Fair

Check out the Craft Beer Festival, ’80s legends Chicago, Canada’s Hockey Hall of Fame and much, much more at this year’s Fair


Tastes change. Traditions fade. Both undeniable truths… except if you happen to be the Fair at the Pacific National Exhibition.

“Every summer, British Columbians come together to celebrate the season at the Fair at the PNE,” explains PNE Spokesperson Laura Ballance. “It’s Vancouver’s most iconic event and a beloved tradition for thousands of families from across the province.”

The fair continues to evolveand thrillas it celebrates a 107th birthday this summer. “Every year, we strive to offer the best acts, attractions and shows,” says Ballance. Boasting the title of longest-running and best-attended ticketed event in British Columbia, the Fair at the PNE certainly doesn’t rest on its laurels. Launching August 19, it continues to refresh its offering, ensuring visitors are delighted time and again.

These are among the best reasons to head down in 2017…


1. It’s your patriotic duty

Canada celebrates a big birthday in 2017 and the Pacific National Exhibition is taking note. “We’re celebrating Canada’s 150th by featuring special acts, new attractions and shows that are here for this year only,” explains Ballance.

Canada’s Hockey Hall of Fame hits the road, heading west from Toronto… at least, in part. Visitors can explore over 5,000 square feet of memories and mementos from the country’s famed national gallery daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the Garden Auditorium.

The Fair is also wrapping itselfand visitorsin patriotic pride. Before 1 p.m. on both August 19 and 20, guests wearing red (or a maple leaf) can score gate admission for just $1.50 to mark the country’s sesquicentennial. (Try to say that with a mouthful of mini donuts!)


2. To join in the community spirit

In a nod to the country’s treasured inclusiveness, the Fair at the PNE showcases Community Spotlight event additions in 2017. “We take pride in launching events that connect communities throughout the city and surrounding areas,” says Ballance.

On September 4, the Caribbean Festival will offer visitors “tropical rhythm, carnival and culture” while the South Asian community is feted on August 26 and 27 with the Spirit of India Summer Festival. The fair kicks off with “Heroes Weekend”, honouring first responders who selflessly serve our communities. It will showcase impressive RCMP, military, firefighting and search and rescue vehicles.


3. For cheers and beers

The booming local brewery scene returns to the fairgrounds this year with the Craft Beer Fest. Situated at the Italian Gardens and open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily, the event features the wares of over 30 local breweries, with each beer token running attendees two dollars on-site. A commemorative stein comes with the purchase of a ticket (which is five dollars online or seven dollars on-site, in addition to your gate admission). If you prefer to steer clear of the hops, the acclaimed wines of local vintners have been added to the bar for 2017. Don’t forget two pieces of ID or you’ll be left to cheer without a beer.

4. To get discounts and deals

Expanded offers make fair-going easier this summer. As usual, children 13 and under get free gate passes but for 2017, all members of VanCity Credit Union pay just a five-dollar admission too.

Pinwheels coupon books are again available (for two dollars) at booths on-site and offer discounts at over 70 of the fair’s food and merchandise vendors.

Finally, you have two chances to enjoy the annual “free day.” Visit before 1 p.m. on August 22 or 29 and pass through the gates at no charge.

5. Ladies of the ’80s… and more

The Summer Nights concert series at the PNE Amphitheatre is always a highlight for evening fun. The talent line-up for 2017 is topped off by Grammy-winning R&B trio The Pointer Sisters on August 22. Relive their early ’80s heyday with hits like “I’m So Excited” and “Jump” on August 22 or go the classic rock route with an appearance by Chicago on August 25. Both shows begin at 8:30 p.m., with general admission wristbands distributed as of 1 PM on the day. (You can always reserve seats by pre-purchasing tickets online.)

Two brand new attractions provide family fun at the fair this summer, appealing to kids and parents alike. Toytopia takes over the Rollerland Building andfrom 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. dailycelebrates an exploration of fun. Giant toys, play areas, the world’s largest Etch-a-Sketch and even a life-size doll house entertain guests. On Miller Drive, X-Treme Bugs features more than a dozen huge animatronic models that bring bug life to real life, exploring how insects move, eat and play important roles in our environment.