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PNE visitor numbers up significantly over last year

The PNE and Hastings Racecourse in East Vancouver are seen from the air in the summer of 2019. (Source: Riley Phillips/NEWS 1130)

Nearly 732,000 people spent time at the site between Aug. 17 and Sept. 2

The record was set in 2010 during its centennial

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Attendance at this year’s Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver is higher than it was in 2018.

The fair’s Laura Ballance says close to 732,000 people spent time at the site between Aug. 17 and Sept. 2.

“Which was about 25,000 above last year’s attendance, so some really strong growth and I think, just very positive response across all areas of the fair programming this year.”

Just over 705,000 people attended in 2018, and more than 722,000 went in 2017.

She tells NEWS 1130 shutting down the fair on two Mondays didn’t seem to hurt their bottom line.

“You know, it’s hard to speculate as to how much or how little the closures did affect us, but we’re really proud of the fact that so many British Columbians consider us their end-of-summer tradition.”

Ballance says they only had a couple days of bad weather and she believes crowds were bigger this year thanks to a great mix of exhibits and the much-loved Summer Nights concert series.

“Whether it was the Billy Idol performance, The Beach Boys, Styx, – the Collective Soul show was very, very popular. We had a wonderful exhibit by CN celebrating their 100th anniversary. We had vintage cars. We just really had something for everyone,” she says.

RELATED: PNE concert-goers being turned away as staff deactivate resold tickets

Some shows were so popular, PNE staff had to cancel several tickets being re-sold by people violating free admission rules.

Ballance adds next year is the fair’s 110th anniversary, so some big events are already in the works and there’s hope attendance will match the record set in 2010.

That year, the PNE’s centennial fair drew more than a million visitors thanks, in part, to an opening day concert at Empire Stadium headlined by Bryan Adams.