Saturday, August 23, 2008

pne again

We made our second trip this summer to the PNE, this time to see Fiona perform at the Festival Square stage with her Lindbjerg performing arts friends. This time we arrived at fair opening time, and had an earlier day, hopping from show to show, and ending up at Lindbjerg's 6pm performance.

We began with the pig races, or should I say "race." There was also a duck race, and a pig that trotted through a hoop and fetched at stick. It was good tongue-in-cheek silly fun, with 29 minutes of buildup, and 90 seconds of total racing (75 seconds ducks, 15 seconds pigs). About 250 people watched, inside the animal barn. This event continues to be controversial in a low-key way. While Richard, the MC, assured us that the pigs and ducks are happy, healthy and well-fed, some say that they run for food because they are hungry, and that's cruel. Here's a youtube link. What do you think?

Then we went to the Superdog show. Here's a youtube link for that. The show is as glitzy and hyper as ever. The dogs are so compelling with their energy and personalities, that it doesn't matter that the format stays pretty much the same year after year, with neon and glitter and pumped up pop music adapted to dog themes. New host Chase does a good job of keeping things moving forward, and whipping the crowd into a cheering, clapping, chanting frenzy, but I do miss Herb Williams, who retired a couple of years ago. Here's info about the once and present hosts. Several thousand people came to see the Superdog show, which is apparently the biggest draw of all of the shows at the PNE every year. I don't think the dogs were hungry. They are rewarded with favourite toys, praise and cuddles.

After the Superdogs, we saw the Flying Canucks. Five handsome young men jump off of platforms onto 2 trampolines and do gravity defying stunts, including wall-walking and freestyle ski and snowboard aerial tricks. It's a combination of gymnastics, cirque de soleil and ski hill fun, and did I mention, cute boys? No wonder this show is popular with teen girls. I wondered how soon it might become an Olympic event. About 100 people watched the Flying Canucks show.

Then we went to the Lumberjack show. It's pared down from the old days when they used to alternate with the demolition derby in the big pit arena just past the Mad Mouse ride. Still, all of the classic events were included: carving a chair out of a log with a chainsaw, swede-sawing speed competition, log rolling, pole-climbing and axe-throwing. Lots of burly-man lumber camp jokes spiced up the show, which was watched by about 500 people.

Next up was Wheels of Steel - ATV races, freestyle sport bike competition and BMX aerials. Every exciting moment was punctuated by bursts of flames out of a couple of centrally located flame-stacks. This youtube clip summarized it to perfection. A thousand people watched this spectacle.

Finally it was time to see Fiona's show, real kids and teens singing on the community stage in Festival square. We got there early and relaxed on our blanket with a bit of supper. Andy had a foot long hotdog and rootbeer. He said it was good, and good value. I had wonton soup from Vina Vietnamese restaurant and an ice tea. A bit more expensive, but yummy and nourishing. The Lindbjerg students did a fine 40-minute performance of selections from this year's productions of Peter Pan, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Hairspray. It was a welcome change after watching several performances of running, chasing and shouting. No flames were thrown, either.

After the show, the kids went on a few more rides while we strolled around and looked at the prize home, which is lovely this year. We left before 8:30. It was a long day, and I think we saw everything there was to see. I found it a bit overwhelming, but it is the PNE and it was a lot of entertainment for $10 discounted entry fee.

So phew! Here I am at home, enjoying a lazy Saturday, feeling like we did the fair just right. I'll be back next year for more of the same, I'm sure. In the meantime, there's a week left, if you haven't gone yet.

question: do you go to the PNE?

mompoet - oink, woof, jump, chop, zoom, tra la la, home sweet home

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