The Fair at the PNE has come to a close with another low turnout despite this year’s significant measures to bring back attendees and cut down on production costs.
Just 712,049 people attended this year’s Fair, which falls far short of the projected 800,000 and 2012’s attendance of 763,000. In 2011, attendance reached 803,598 and in 2010 it reached 937,485.
This year’s numbers come after general admission and on-site parking fees were reduced by 20 per cent from $20.00 to $16.00. In comparison, in 2007 it cost just $10.00 to enter the Fair and $8.00 if tickets were pre-purchased at 7-Eleven or Safeway.
Big name artists were also brought in again this year for the Fair’s daily concerts to attract attendees.
In addition to these measures, the 17-day Fair was reduced to 15-days when the first two Mondays were closed, which are traditionally the event’s slowest days. The two day closure was an effort to concentrate the PNE’s resources to provide better and more programming on the remaining 15-days.
It also had unexpected issues to deal when the Fair encountered two power outages, which led the Fair to create a second free admission morning during the second week. Wet weather over several days was also a factor in this year’s number.
“This was the first year of a five-year plan to energize The Fair at the PNE,” says PNE President and CEO, Michael McDaniel.
“Overall we were very pleased with the experience our guests received despite the operational challenges of two power outages and some rain on a couple of key Fair days.”
It is no secret that the PNE is significantly smaller than what it was just 15 years ago, before 200,000 square feet of its historic fairground buildings were demolished by the City of Vancouver to make way for green space and the lake. With significantly less space, the PNE has been unable to bring more attractions and performances to the Fair which has led to a never ending cycle of smaller crowds and declining revenues.
In 2011, City Council approved a $204 million masterplan that will green Hastings Park even further. It will also expand the size of PlayLand and provide the PNE with more indoor and outdoor exhibition space.
However, don’t expect to see any major changes anytime soon – the masterplan has a construction timeline of 20 years.
2013 Fair by the numbers
400 – total participants in the 4-H auction
324,891 – total sales for the 4-H auction
250 – number of chicks born at The Fair
9 – number of calves born at The Fair
22 – dumpster loads of dung taken away from the livestock barns
3,000,000 – total dollars spent on free-with-admission entertainment programming at the 2013 Fair
120,000 – number of people that went through the PNE Prize Home
2,000 – number of times per day a PNE Prize Home ticket seller says “Win a house, win a car”
79 – number of years the PNE has been giving away a PNE Prize Home
38,535 – number of people that went through Genghis Khan: The Exhibition
300 – number of artifacts in Genghis Khan: The Exhibition
12,000 – square feet in Genghis Khan: The Exhibition
144,000 – number of people that watched Sportacular
30 – number of performers in Sportacular
40 – number of costume changes in 80’s Forever
510 – number of Family Feud contestants
1,800 – number of times the Family Feud hosts said ‘Survey Says’
200,000 – number of people who watched the Superdogs show
860 – pounds of food consumed by the Superdogs
45 – number of pooches in the Superdogs show
18 – number of Superdogs trainers
16 – number of performers in the Peking Acrobats
74 – number of years Dal Richards has performed at The Fair
1,000 – number of seats in the Beer Garden (Vancouver’s largest outdoor patio)
2,000,000 – number of mini donuts sold at Those Little Donuts stand
25,000 – pounds of dough used to produce mini donuts at Those Little Donuts stand
2,000 – number of calories in the Vortex Burger from Gourmet Burgers
65 – number of years Ernie’s Ice Cream has been at The Fair
2,100 – gallons of BBQ sauce used at the BBQ Rib-Fest
21,000 – racks of ribs sold
300 – number of 2’ long Double Dog Dare Ya! Hotdogs sold
7,500 – number of Crazy Dogs sold
750 – pounds of potatoes used to make Wiggle Chips
69,000 – number of shrimp sold at Shrimp Boat
7,500 – number of samosas sold at Curry-In-A-Hurry
3,750 – number of deep fried Mars bars sold
13,800 – number of lemons used at the lemonade stand
210,000 – ounces of Root Beer consumed at Buckeyes Root Beer
90,000 – number of corn dogs sold
3,000 – number of root beer floats sold at Ernie’s Ice Cream
105 – kilograms of fudge sold
3,750 – number of sliders sold at Gourmet Burgers
12,240 – number of cobs of corn sold at the Chilliwack Corn stand
2 – number of tablespoons of sugar in a large cotton candy
33,500 – number of cotton candies sold
30,500 – number of 16 oz. soft drinks sold
4,800 – number of turkey legs sold
5,600 – number of deep fried pickles sold at Pickle Pete’s
24 – pounds of butter used to make deep fried butter at One Sweet World
4,500,000 – number of Kernels popped at Canadian Kettle Corn
250,000 – number of stuffed animal prizes won at games annually during The Fair
19,000 – number of annual plays on the Playland Midway Dart Game
3,270 – number of bottles broken at the Bottle Break Game on the Payland Midway annually
103 – age of this year’s Fair
712,049 – number of visitors to the 2013 Fair
17,000 – average number of steps taken per day by a PNE employee
32 – number of hours spent by the average family at The Fair
5,000 – approximate number of items returned to the Lost and Found
156 – number of exhibitors in the Marketplace
8,160 – number of times the main (red) wooden roller coaster went around the track during the Fair
90 – number of seconds per ride on the wooden roller coaster
3,000,000 – number of individual rides at Playland during The Fair
218 feet – height of the AtmosFEAR ride
53 – number of rides at The Fair
81 – age of the oldest person to ride the AtmosFEAR this year
Image: Jan Gates