PNE targets youngsters with new attractions 0
BCIT instructors Ron Kato and Yves Blaison designed and built Airplane House for the PNE. (CARMINE MARINELLI, 24 HOURS)
Princesses, playhouses and even acrobatic bunnies are some of the newest attractions geared specifically to young kids when the Pacific National Exhibition opens its gates Saturday for its 102nd year.
Mike McDaniel, the PNE's president and CEO, said the fair is offering more programming for kids than ever before.
"It is a family event and we want to grow that," he said, adding students under 13 accompanied by an adult get in free.
McDaniel's certain his six-year-old daughter will make a beeline for Airplane House - one of seven distinct playhouses designed, built and sponsored by local organizations specifically for the PNE.
Ron Kato, B.C. Institute of Technology's head of architectural science, drew inspiration for the aircraft-themed creation when he discovered sponsor Canfor got its start supplying wood for Mosquito bombers during the Second World War.
"We really wanted to make it a play experience for kids," he said, noting it comes complete with a cockpit and twisting slides for any emergency escapes.
Meanwhile, the PNE is also debuting Princess Jubilation, which features young noble women joining Sir Sedgwick Squirrel and Rugby the Royal Racoon in song and dance.
The always-popular SuperDogs exhibit, which showcases amazing feats of canine agility, will face some competition this year from the Canadian Rabbit Hopping Club. The super bunnies will bound over hurdles and leap across ramps at the Kidz Discovery farm Aug. 25-26.
But McDaniel, who expects more than 850,000 revellers to hit the fair, said Family Feud Live will be one of the busiest events.
"It's an experience that is familiar because (people) have seen it on television but never thought they'd be that close to it."
Another TV exhibit includes Top Chef Canada winner Dale MacKay, who will be at the PNE showing off a new grilled cheese sandwich creation Aug. 31.
The local celebrity chef told 24 hours the new dish includes olive, tomatoes, multigrain bread and aged cheddar.
"I love grilled cheese. It's one of my go-to things I probably eat once a week."