Saturday, August 23, 2014

An Uplifting, Hair-Raising Day At The PNE

THE HISTORIC Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) at the corner of Hastings and Renfrew in Vancouver is back in town. It has run at Hastings Park for over a century now despite recurring suggestions about changing its location. Debate about its need to exist has had its ups and downs.

The gigantic fair usually operates for seventeen days at the end of summer. It is a time when rain is likely to fall and families have one last chance to build fond memories before the kids return to school.

Like many in Greater Vancouver, I attended the fair at different stages of life. I went as an awestruck little girl eager to win a teddy bear, a concert loving teen enamored by the night lights, an adult interested in art and educational exhibits and a mom wanting her child to get a taste of candy apples and community fun.

Last week at the Playland section, I glanced up to see dare-devils riding in something that looked like rows of Pez dispensers. From experiencing thrilling (sometimes stomach-churning) rides ...

to spending hair-raising amounts of money to "win" an overstuffed prize ...

the annual event is part of the fabric of southwest BC life.

Having neglected the PNE for several years, I was glad my husband wanted to go. I would not be surprised if the famously fresh mini donuts lured him back. What person has not walked away with special memories of the PNE?

The Superdogs (as always) drew a huge crowd. The dogs jumped and ran through their challenges so speedily I did not snap one good picture of them in the act.

I had forgotten how loudly the music played during their performances.

I wondered how dogs with super-sensitive hearing could adjust to the heightened sound?

Humans also performed brilliantly. The agile girl in blue (below) looked as if she would fly off the stage.

Her big hoop reminded me of the Ferris Wheel we later went on.

This placid ride is just my speed nowadays. Unfortunately, it ended much quicker than I recalled. I could have gone round and round for hours.

Here I am at a wonderful animation exhibit wishing I could straighten the art that is painted on the wall behind me.

The animals looked a little bored or sedated. Seeing them being adored and petted gave me the usual twinges of guilt knowing that one day they would likely end up on someone's plate for dinner.

Squeals of fear mixed with joy were heard from the people above as they circled the sky like a swarm of mosquitoes.

Where else but at the PNE could you sip AND ride a cup of tea?

This year a traveling exhibit from the popular Game Of Thrones television series was on site. It was interesting how each person who sat on the throne suddenly looked royal.

There is so much to see at the PNE that it cannot be fully appreciated in one day. I just touched the surface in this post. During our visit, not a single drop of rain fell. People performed enthusiastically trying to please. The staff of mostly cheerful youth kept the entire grounds clean and humming. A great provider of temporary jobs for students, the PNE I hope will live on and thrive.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms


  1. Love this post about the PNE. I first went there a year after I moved to Vancouver, went a few times more through the years. Then I could not take the crowds anymore. Those rides left me feeling nauseated many a times. Great photos!

  2. What a fantastic fair. I love the teacups and the throne. I love the look of all the dizzy making rides but usually pass them. Here there are only middle aged small fairs so I miss them a bit so thanks for showing me yours. Had to love at your hair raising joke

  3. Great shots form the fair. I enjoyed this so much.

  4. Wonderful post and photos ~ such a delightful place and fun for you and your husband ~ Happy Week to you!

    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

  5. Oh, I love Fairs like this and what terrific captures for the day!! They're the next best thing to being there myself!! Thanks for sharing!! Have a great week!

  6. That looks like fun - our state fair is just beginning.

  7. Fantastic shots from the fair.
    This can be a lot de-stressing.

  8. wow that is alot of interesting things to make images of. TFS

  9. What a fun day! Love that punk hair-do!

  10. Wonderful photos! The PNE reminds me of the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) in Toronto. Sounds like the run at exactly the same time every year. I haven't been to the CNE in a very long time, though. But it's always in the news and always marks the end of summer in my mind.

  11. Thanks for sharing your photos of the Exhibition. It's getting me excited to go to our county fair in October. A much smaller version than your Exhibition, but still a lot of fun. Wish someone would sell doughnuts like the ones in your photo.
    Take 25 to Hollister

  12. Sounds like such fun, I miss the PNE, do they still have that rollercoaster?

    Our IPE fair just started's over a 100 years old, so there are some interesting traditions going on.


  13. That's a great and unique fair .... we haven't been to the State or County Fair for years. Now I want to go again...maybe next summer.

  14. First, I have to say I was THRILLED to see you in your post. Yes! Second, those photos are SPECTACULAR. I'm blown away! Your memories and motivations for going to the fair, the fact your husband was keen to renew and replenish his memory bank and taste buds.. just a charming and wonderful post that will stay with me!

  15. Great post! Looks like a fun place to be.

  16. Nice to see you in the photo, Penelope. You are so lucky that you still have such an amusement park which you’ve been familiar from your childhood. Though large scale theme parks are thriving, many amusement parks especially for children were closed around me in Nara. I used to like riding on hair-raising coasters but not anymore. I’d feel sick. Ferris Wheel is okay for me if it’s not swayed by the wind. Your fabulous photos made me want to take photos of things in amusement park someday.



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