Is the PNE still relevant? That’s a silly question.
Celina Kurz

I’m going to begin with a confession: I’m in love with the PNE. I’ve gone almost every year since elementary school, and I always spring the money to go on the rides. I admit that the PNE has its flaws; namely, if you want to go on rides, or eat food, or gamble, it’s remarkably expensive. And it’s true that without the rides and the ridiculous $25 hotdog that they were selling at Crazy Dog, you can have an enormous amount of affordable fun, with a gate pass going for just $16.80. That being said, however, I’m a believer in the idea that money was invented to be spent on things you will enjoy, and there are few thing I enjoy more than rollercoasters.

My companion and I arrived at the PNE at 3 p.m and decided to begin with the rides, as we noticed the next Superdogs show didn’t start until six. We were pleased to find that most rides actually had very short, sometimes nonexistent lines. Most classics such as the Swings, Enterprise, Pirate Ship, and various eggbeater-style rides were very easy to get on to.

However, we were disappointed to see the line for the new ride, “Atmosfear”. A word of warning to thrill-seekers: if you are there on a sunny day, expect to wait up to or more than an hour to get onto this hot new attraction, and get really frustrated when you see empty seats.

That being said, when we came back later in the evening and the line had shrunk somewhat, it was completely worth it. “When I was up there, I wasn’t screaming from excitement,” said my PNE companion Alie Lynch. “I was screaming from pure terror.” I would personally describe it as being in an airplane, but without the airplane. The ride is basically the same as the Swings, but it takes you approximately 200 feet into the air. However, despite the terror, Lynch reports feeling “totally jacked” upon returning to the ground. “I’m pretty sure this is what cocaine feels like.”

After about ten or so rides it was getting close to six, so we did a quick tour of Safeway Farm Country. If the idea of little baby ducklings, little baby chicks, miniature horses, and racing pigs doesn’t excite you, then I’m not sure why you are reading an article about the PNE. Perhaps you have a textbook you should be reading instead. Perhaps you have a party you need to be pooping.

At six, we met up with some acquaintances at Superdogs. Superdogs is by far my favourite part of the PNE and, even better, entrance is free with your gate pass. The fact is that there is possibly nothing in the world more fun than cheering for dogs. I don’t think there are any other competitions where the subjects who are racing care so little about how well they do, but still do incredible, amazing, athletic things that blow your mind. You can also “meet the Superdogs” after the show and say hello to your favourite pup (if you can make it through the crowd of 8-year-olds).

By the time we left the arena, it had begun to get dark out. This worked in our advantage, because a lot of families started leaving. We finished off the night by hitting up the rides we missed : in addition to the Starship 3000 (if you are ever doing a time travel scene for a movie, just strap yourself into this ride with a camera) and 1001 Nachts (ultimate pukefest), we went on the Coaster over, and over, and over again. We did it so many times that we would plan faces to make for the picture, looking stern, looking cute, and so on. The Coaster is the greatest rollercoaster on earth.

We also managed to catch a bit of the nightly fireworks show, which involves not only fireworks, but flame cannons so huge you feel the heat from the fire from 100 meters away. In addition, we heard Neil Diamond impersonator “Nearly Neil” performing a few tunes in the beer garden. It would have been great to hear more, as the whole band sounded incredibly tight, and Nearly Neil was wearing a blue sequin suit.

As modern Vancouverites, it can sometimes feel like nothing will surprise us. In 2011, our world is far larger than it was in 1910, when the PNE first came to Vancouver. However, the PNE continues to bring excitement and happiness to our city, if only for a few weeks in late summer. If you didn’t manage to make the time to visit the PNE this year, I truly hope you make it out next year. I hope you get to cheer for a pug, or cheat your way onto your favourite rides, and I hope when you leave you feel a little bit nauseous and a little bit drunk from adrenaline. If you did spend a day at the PNE this year, I just hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.


1) Buy a ride pass (rather than a gate/ride combo pass) and when you go up to the ticket taker, tell them you are 13. This saves you approximately $15. This helps if you are a girl, the ticket taker is a boy, and you act like you own the world.

2) Buy a gate pass. Bring a pack of markers. Notice the colour of the ride stamps on people’s hands. Wait until it starts getting dark, draw a blobby smudge on your hand. Act like you own the world, ride coaster 10 times, repeat. This saves you approximately $40.

3) Bring your own liquor, if you are so inclined. Beer costs seven bucks! No thank you, “the man”.

// Celina Kurz
Copy Editor

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com