PNE: Pricey no-good entertainment

It’s time for the annual exhibition to say goodbye

By Jacey Gibb, Editor-in-chief

One hundred and three years. That’s how long the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) has been around for. But just because something lives to see two different centuries doesn’t mean it’s not the worst.

Are you sick of crowds?

The numbers are in for the PNE’s attendance this year and like the weather outside, things seem to be cooling down. While the fair predicted that over 800,000 people would attend this year, the official attendance number is 712,049—down almost seven per cent from 2012, which had about 50,000 more attendees. Officials have a number of scapegoats lined up for the reason behind the decline, like power outages on two separate days and poor end of summer weather, but let’s try to focus on what’s important here: the PNE has somehow found a way to be less busy but still make you feel like you’re constantly swimming in a fucking ocean of people.

Are you sick of paying for gate admission, only to add on another cost for the rides?

The good news is the PNE dropped the price for gate admission from $20 to $16. The bad news is it costs another $32.50 more for the privilege to wait in line for half an hour for a two-minute ride. More good news is that rides like the Hellevator and ATMOSFEAR, which used to be an extra charge, are now included with your rides pass. The bad news is this wasn’t already a thing in the first place.

Are you sick of paying $4 for a root beer that would otherwise cost half as much anywhere else?

Apparently not, since 210,000 ounces of Buckeyes Root Beer flowed from the taps over the course of the PNE, but let’s take a moment to think about this. Unless there’s a toonie waiting for you at the bottom, there’s no reason why a soda’s price tag should pass the $2 mark. In other news, regular-sized bottles of Dasani tap water cost $3.50. Yippee!

Are you sick of irrelevant musicians putting on concerts geared mainly towards your parents or people still too young to know what good music is?

Included in the gate admission are free nightly concerts, which sound great in theory. But the lineup has a tendency to be made up of bands 20 years past their prime who mostly stick to playing the casino circuit now. Like the Beach Boys, who are in the middle of touring without Brian Wilson. Let me be very clear here: having the Beach Boys without Brian Wilson is like eating a bowl of cereal without using any milk. And there’s actually no cereal either. Or even a bowl.

The band given the honour of closing out the PNE this year? Loverboy, a Canadian group that has released one original album in the past 16 years. The band is best known for their hit “Working for the Weekend” from ’81.

I get that some people have overwhelming sentimental value attached to the PNE—heck, even my mom went to the fair when she was a kid—but just because something’s a tradition doesn’t mean it should stick around.