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HomeMiscellanyDrones, hockey legends and lack of rain help boost PNE Fair attendance

Drones, hockey legends and lack of rain help boost PNE Fair attendance

Bob Mackin

The PNE Fair is over for the 107th year and the attendance rebound continues. 

Organizers talled 722,466 through the gates at Hastings Park for the 15-day fair during the 17 days between Aug. 19 and Sept. 4 (it was closed the first two Mondays). 

That’s up from 712,637 in 2016 and 678,193 in 2015, the year of the Aug. 29 windstorm that left much of Metro Vancouver without power.

The Northern Light Sky drone show and Legends of Hockey exhibit were two of the main draws in 2017, away from the amphitheatre, where entertainment ranged from the B-52s to ZZ Top. 

There were no rainstorms this time. There was a mere trace of precipitation. Instead, record-breaking heat may have both a blessing and a curse.

The last Saturday of the 2017 fair drew 56,329 — nearly 20,000 fewer than 2016, when 75,461 came. 

Attendance fluctuated from a high of 64,439 on Aug. 29 to a low of 34,211 on Aug. 23, averaging 48,164 a day. That was slightly better than 2016’s average of 47,491. 

The fair is still a long way from its 2010 heyday, when 937,485 celebrated the centennial fair. 

Mark Aug. 18-Sept. 3 on your calendar for 2018’s fair dates.

Before that, Hastings Park will host a winter fair for the first time. Dec. 15-Jan. 21 is the inaugural Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival. The PNE promises artisan lanterns, live performances, children’s activities and food trucks.