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The Fair at the PNE won't change its dates to catch some sun

Last Updated Apr 26, 2017 at 1:25 pm PDT

(NEWS 1130 File Photo)
Summary

Weather was a key factor to potentially change the dates of the fair

Organizers may consider tweaking the dates of the Fair at the PNE in the future

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – After seriously considering breaking with over a century of tradition, organizers of the Fair at the PNE have decided not to change the dates of the event.

While hundreds of thousands of people flood into the PNE grounds every year, weather is still a big factor in the success or failure of the fair.

A rainy day can lead to a 30 per cent drop in attendance, according to the PNE’s Laura Ballance. Bad weather in 2015 contributed to the lowest attendance in 15 years, and an overall revenue hit of roughly $3 million.

This led organizers to consider moving the whole event to late July, when the weather is typically warmer and drier than in late August.

“But the reality of it is, there is no day of the year in British Columbia, certainly in the Lower Mainland, where we’re 100 per cent guaranteed we’re going to run into better weather,” Ballance says.

She adds that while moving the dates may seem like a simple change, it would have actually been a huge logistical undertaking.

“If you consider we’re the largest employer of youth in British Columbia… we have 9,500 direct and indirect employees and we have hundreds of exhibitor partners… and to shift out of our traditional schedule which we’ve had for 106 years, it’s very, very difficult to change all those patterns.”

Ballance is not ruling out changing the dates in the future, but consultations with the public, staff, suppliers, exhibitors, and partners, they found the timing just wasn’t right.

A list of performers for this year’s fair will be released in the coming weeks.