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PNE organizers hope attendance bounces back this year

Last Updated Aug 18, 2016 at 4:56 pm PDT

The Angry Birds exhibit at this year's PNE. (Kenny Mason, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

There was a drop in attendance last year, blamed partially on the windstorm

Organizers have unveiled attractions that are only at the fair this year

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – From Angry Birds to a big science exhibit, the Fair at the PNE has announced its newest attractions for this weekend’s launch, but will it be enough to have you pay admission?

Organizers hope to bounce back from a big drop in attendance in 2015, as they also consider moving next year’s opening date.

CEO Mike McDaniel admits last year’s numbers were disappointing but is, again, blaming the rainy weather for the drop in numbers.

He says one of their focuses is to make every year’s fair unique.

“New and only this year programming so people know if they want to see Angry Birds, Aliens and Androids, the concert series then they have to come this year because it will be this year only.”

He adds the forecast looks great for the start of the fair and he hopes about 750,000 people attend.

Last year, organizers blamed part of the fall in numbers on that widespread windstorm that hit Metro Vancouver. In 2015, 678,193 people went to the fair. The average 10-year average is 760,000.

Earlier this year, the PNE announced it was exploring the idea of changing dates because of “changing weather patterns.” If it does, it wouldn’t go into effect until 2018.

Hastings Park is PNE’s ‘forever’ home

There’s always been rumours and talk of moving the giant fair to a bigger venue like the north shore of the Fraser River.

President of the Fair and the PNE, Michael McDaniel, says the debate that raged for decades is over: the PNE isn’t going anywhere.

“There was a decision that Vancouver City Council made, and the fair will stay at Hasting Park,” says McDaniel. “The rest of the PNE activities from Playland to Fright Night to the other activities that happen on site at Hasting Park will stay, and they’ll stay forever.”

And he says the fair’s three-quarters of a million visitors show it has a very viable future.

The only challenge he admits, is the weather, like last year’s storm that caused power outages.

Listen: Anchors Amanda Wawryk and Jim Bennie chat with McDaniel