Saturday, September 05, 2009

A much better than fair day at the fair

The fair in question, the PNE, would stand up to the test of anyone's notion of a state fair. it's an event with its roots in the traditional agricultural fair, only it's grown far beyond farm displays. Still, there are plenty of critters as well as displays of mushrooms and honey and other B.C. produce.

We spent most of the day there, starting with a big band performance by Dal Richards and his group. Dal's looking and sounding pretty great, especially for a guy who's going on 92.

Besides the big band experience, we took in a group of performers who go by the slightly pretentious title, Celtic Legends. This overly broad name makes them difficult to track down, still the building was packed and I wasn't the only one who seemed enthralled by their presentation. The musicians were top-notch, and I have to admit the sound of that fiddle stirs something in my blood. I wonder if my Irish grandfather has anything to do with that. And the dancers were maybe even more impressive -- with their straight backs and free-as-marionette legs, their stomping was really quite the thrill.

I'll admit I still miss the car show that was such a long-standing tradition, the demo derby. This year's replacement, 'On the Edge' was completely lame. To make matters worse, 'climax' points in the show were punctuated by the eruption of huge flames. These not only emitted a huge blast of heat, the stench from whatever fuel was used was horrid -- and strong enough that many very little children were instinctively reacting by covering their noses and mouths. So much for the fair's 'green' brags.

Much more fun, and in keeping with our traditions here in B.C. was the revived (albeit on a smaller scale) lumberman's show. Log-rolling, axe-throwing, speed-sawing and more. This is a tradition I really hope they'll decide to retain. In fact, it might be an excellent installation in the B.C. pavilion apparently still being planned for February's Olympic extravaganza.

Eating, of course, was one of the reasons we went to the fair. There's so much to choose from, you can't try even the tiniest portion of what's available. The soft ice cream (intentionally soft) might have been the highlight for me. Not something I know how to whip up at home, especially not with that curly swirl!

Of course, there's so much to see just wandering around the midway, considering the merits of various rides, and just plain people-watching.

The evening's free concert was the Gipsy Kings, and there must have been thousands crowded into the viewing areas. Big screen video made it easier for those of us in the back to see. Great sounds to round out a memorable day.

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