Since before I could walk, I’ve been going to the Pacific National Exhibition with my family. I remember piling into the family van, driving for what seemed to be all morning, then taking the Hastings exit of Highway 1 past Empire Stadium and into the fair parking lots. Then, from my stroller, I would watch as my big brother and sister rode the rides that I was too small to enjoy.
When the helicopter ride (which I thought simply went in circles) lifted itself off the ground I cried so hard that I was promptly returned to my stroller. I was only to be consoled with a warm, fresh, blueberry scone from the food pavilion.
The log ride was a staple, as were the bumper cars and when I was older (err… taller) the Coaster was the ultimate rush. I rode the Super Big Gulp and dozens of other rides that have come and gone over the years.
Our family would walk through the stables, get our Polaroids taken in front of green-screened combat equipment at the Armed Forces pavilion, and point out where we lived on the giant relief map of the province in the BC Pavilion. When we would return to the van after an action-packed day we’d have swag bags full of stickers, brochures, and our PNE buttons (which we made sure to collect every single year from guest services).
Of course my teenage years at Playland and the PNE with friends garnered different experiences. These involved ogling axe-swingers at the lumberjack competition or demolition derby, riding the Enterprise in a car all by yourself, playing mini golf like Happy Gilmore, and heading to the Petro-Can to get someone’s queasy stomach a dose of Pepto Bismol.
Each trip with friends, family, and familiar faces made for new memories, which at this point are endless. Now in its 99th year, the Fair at the PNE is offering up even more “free with admission” fun for all while celebrating 50 years of the old wooden (world famous) coaster.
Some PNE and Playland fast facts:
In order to help you create and pass on the joy of a day out at the PNE, I approached them to put together this contest. I’m giving away a family pack of tickets which includes 4 gate admission tickets along with 4 all-day ride passes for Playland.
To enter to win the family pack, leave a comment below including one of your favourite PNE or Playland memories. If you can fit all of that into 140 characters, re-tweets will also be accepted. Alternatively, if you’ve never been, you can just explain why you would want to go. I’ll draw the winner on Friday August 21st. The winner will have 24 hours to confirm as the passes, and the Fair, will only be around from August 22nd until September 7th, 2009.
Update: I drew the winner and it’s maria b – thanks to everyone for sharing some great memories and if you’re up for a tweetup or group day at Playland or the PNE, I’m in!