The PNE returns after three years of pandemic absence

The Pacific National Exhibition welcomes new artists and vendors, as well as many old familiar faces to the 2022 fair.

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As the storms in the teapots, this one is more like a downpour in a donut hole.

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Long-time PNE mini donut makers, these little donuts weren’t invited to the fair this summer, causing consternation in some quarters.

But there are three independent mini donut stalls that will be at the summer fair, including the third generation of the family that brought the sweet little taste bombs to Western Canada in the 1960s.

“My grandfather basically introduced mini donuts to Western Canada on the fairground circuit,” Jessa Bedford said Tuesday.

She and her husband Keith were in transit from Saskatchewan, where their The Little Donut Bakery mini donut truck was a vendor at the Saskatoon show which ended on Sunday.

His grandfather Eldred Johnson was a Minnesotan, where the Tom Thumb mini donut franchises began. It was the 1960s and Canada was a new territory. Johnson and another gentleman had a handshake deal to split the market, Bedford said, with Johnson taking over the west Winnipeg fairs from 1968.

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He added the PNE to his stops in the Prairie provinces in 1971.

“When my dad Steve took over from my grandfather in 1984, he didn’t want to be in the franchise anymore, so he built his own equipment and started his own company, which was called These Little Donuts.

“We haven’t had any since then, but we really missed it, so we just decided to start a new business and build our own equipment, which is the same machine, so that’s what people will get. with us.”

They still offer cinnamon sugar, but also a wide range of flavors such as buttered French toast, corn fritter and a BC-themed one-off for the PNE, a Nanaimo-bar donut and toppings ranging from cream cheese to chocolate and vanilla.

“And nuggets, those are always popular with kids,” Bedford said. “We offer the traditional, but also a little more with.”

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Jimmy’s lunch is back, PNE’s oldest food vendor, which started at PNE 93 years ago and is operated by the fourth generation of the family.

And the Peking Acrobats return after a long absence.

“We haven’t had one at the PNE for several years. This is a free premium show with admission,” PNE spokeswoman Laura Ballance said.

The fires and floods of the past few years have hit agriculture hard, but 4-H is also back.

“We really hope people will come out and support them, these young farmers,” Ballance said.

This is also the first year that the PNE will have fully paid concerts, with prices ranging from $25 to $79.

“It’s a big change for people, but we’ve tried to keep it really cheap, and I think when you look at the artists and the prices, I think we’ve done a good job of that.”

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The Summer Night Concerts night series lineup includes the B-52 Farewell Tour and The Beach Boys’ Sixty Years of the Sounds of Summer, Canadian favorites Blue Rodeo, Barenaked Ladies (supported by Kim Mitchell), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artists such as Chicago and Steve Miller, and icons Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings.

For fans of 90s music, Shaggy and TLC will share a double bill. Together they have sold over 125 million records worldwide. Country music fans will have the chance to see the Osborne brothers.

The VSO will perform a tribute to the Beatles, the Gypsy Kings will bring their wild flamenco and salsa, Cake his deadpan narration and rapper Nelly.

Sandwiched amid nightly performances at the PNE Amphitheater, Stars of Drag: A Night of True Colors features Vancouver’s Kendall Gender and international drag queens Ginger Minj, Trinity the Tuck, Eureka and Plastique.

And for soul and R&B fans, Chaka Khan and Patti LaBelle close out the 2022 show with a performance on Labor Day.

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