The Pacific National Exhibition, or PNE, has been an annual Vancouver fair for over 100 years. It has rides, shows, farm animals, midway games and concerts.
Lots of other events also take place at the PNE at other times of the year, including Playland. The venue hosts concerts and trade shows. There is Halloween-themed event in October and a Christmas-themed event in December.
This article contains details about the following:
General PNE Information | PNE in 2022 | Admission | Ways to Save | Summer Concerts | 2022 Concerts | Special Features | PNE Rides | PNE Ride Tips | PNE Prize Home | General Tips & Advice | PNE Video | PNE at Christmas | Other Information
Click on any of the above links to jump to specific information, or continue reading to learn all about the Pacific National Exhibition.
Vancouver’s PNE Fair in 2022
Taking place the last three weeks of the summer and finishing on the Labour Day Long Weekend (most years at least), the PNE is when Vancouver’s Playland turns into a first-class fair. 2021 dates were from August 21st to September 6th. In 2022 the fair runs most days from August 20th until September 5th.
The PNE has all of Playland‘s usual midway and various amusement rides. What’s more though are all the tantalizing food stalls, the live entertainment and the excitement of a carnival.
In 2021 the PNE Fair happened as a live, in-person event. You didn’t have to stay in your car to see things, unlike in 2020! It wasn’t as big an event as in non-pandemic years, but it was still tons of fun! In 2022 the fair is similar to what it was prior to the pandemic. However, tickets for each day are still going to be limited like they were in 2021. This means there will be more space for guests and shorter lines for rides.
If you’ve never been to the Pacific National Exhibition, or you haven’t been for many years, you should go! It’s a Vancouver tradition. You’ll have a great time!
For full details about the PNE Fair see the official PNE.ca website.
The PNE in 2022
A couple of summers ago the PNE Fair took place in a scaled-back drive-thru format. In 2021 it returned to more of what things were like pre-pandemic, although on a smaller scale than usual. Many of the crowd-favourite acts returned and it was a great way to end the summer! With that said, tickets were limited to keep the crowds smaller than usual. This is the case again in 2022.
For information about just the music lineup, click PNE Night Concerts.
The 2021 season for Playland was from June 11th to September 12th. In 2022 Playland runs from June 18th to August 19th and the PNE runs from August 20th until September 5th.
Admission to the PNE
Admission to the fair for 2022 is $20 at the gate for visitors ages 19-64. Seniors and folks ages 13-18 cost $14. Passes at the gate for children ages 4-12 cost $7 at the gate. It is also free for children ages 3 and under.
During the fair in 2021, if you went after 7 pm, you could also get in for just $7 (so about half price). Hopefully this is the same in 2022.
Playland Fair Ride passes for all-day access to the amusement rides are about $45.50 for most folks. There is also a secondary pass option at $33.50 for people shorter than 48 inches tall or less interested in the bigger rides. Tickets are available online and at the gate but at a limited capacity.
Ways to Save at the PNE
In years when there isn’t a global pandemic, there are several ways to save money at the PNE. They include going on special discounted days, saving with partner memberships, buying your tickets in advance, and other ways.
Ways to Save at the PNE
In 2022, admission tickets and ride passes purchased online in advance are $2 cheaper than what they cost at the gate.
Details about other ways to save this year are to be confirmed.
Ways to Save in Past Years
On select Tuesdays in 2021, the PNE offered 2-for-1 admission to folks with TransLink Compass Cards or products. These special tickets became available at 8 am on days that they could be used, which were August 24th and 31st this past year. This deal was only available online, and folks who purchased the tickets were required to show their Compass product at the gates of the attraction.
The same as in previous years, members of the BC Automobile Association (BCAA) could get a 30% discount on ride passes. The savings applied to the rides, but not on the price of general admission.
Another way to save in 2021 was to go after 7 pm. If you did that admission cost just $7.
Below is how people could save in 2019, which was similar to most previous years. 2020 just had one standard per-carload price. 2022 ways to save may or may not be similar to the following.
- August 17th & 18th, 2019: free admission for First Responders. This included current and retired ambulance attendants, police officers, firefighters, and members of the military, Search & Rescue and Coast Guard. Show your First Responders service card at the gate and one friend gets in free too!
- August 20th & 27th, 2019: free admission for everyone arriving between 11 am and 1 pm on both Tuesdays of the fair. Arrive early, get your hand stamped after 1 pm, and then go and return later in the day as you like.
- August 21st & 28th, 2019: Wild Ride Wednesdays lets people arriving between 11 am and 1 pm gets 2-for-1 ride passes. To benefit fully from the deal, make sure to go with an even number of friends!
- August 21st, 2019: Library Day means that people who show their BC library card and photo ID pay only $6 for gate admission!
- August 22nd, 2019: seniors age 65+ get free admission to the Fair. They also get free access to the Ferris Wheel rides all day.
- August 29th, 2019: Out at the Fair Day has free entry for those wearing Pride socks purchased from the Vancouver Pride Society. If you don’t already have any, you can purchase a pair at the Hastings & Renfrew entrance with proceeds going to the Vancouver Pride Society.
Save With Certain Memberships
- Show Your BCAA Membership Card – BCAA members get 30% off admission and ride passes. See the BCAA website for details.
- Show Your Vancity Membership Card – members of Vancity Credit Union pay just $8 for general admission between 11 am and 1 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Labour Day Monday.
Buy Your Tickets in Advance
- Buy Your Passes at Special Retailers – tickets purchased at 7-Eleven, Safeway, Save-on-Foods, PriceSmart Foods and Urban Fare stores are discounted by as much as $12 for ride passes. (Note: Tickets at Lower Mainland retailers are usually available starting in August.)
TIP: Don’t buy your ticket online or at a store and then show up on a discounted day during eligible discounted hours. You’ll end up saving a few dollars off the regular full price of a ticket if you do, but still pay more than you have to.
Other Ways to Save in 2019
- Download the PNE Fair App – download the app and show it on your mobile phone at the ticket gate and pay just $2 for admission on August 17th and 18th in 2019.
- Savings Coupon Book – if you plan to spend lots of time at the PNE eating, drinking and doing stuff that costs money, then pay $2 for a Pinwheel Deals coupon book. You can buy them at any Guest Services location at the Fair. You’ll find over $350 in potential savings inside (although you’d have to spend a crazy amount of money to save that much!).
- Go Late and Buy a Twilight Ride Pass – ride passes purchased at the gate after 5 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays cost just $30.75 instead of the full price of $46.75.
PNE Summer Night Concerts
Most years, the PNE hosts live outdoor concerts by rock bands of yesteryear, as well as the occasional country and rock groups still big in the present day.
There weren’t any concerts in 2020 because of COVID-19, and the 2021 music lineup was smaller-scale without any massive headliners. In 2019 bands included Blue Rodeo, Burton Cummings, Colin James, Billy Idol, the Beach Boys and other famous groups.
To find out who is performing in 2022, continue reading.
Click PNE Summer Concerts for more details!
Live Music in 2022
PNE Summer Night Concerts in 2022 are held on the GMC Stage in the PNE Amphitheatre. The concerts start at 8:30 pm and run on most days during the fair. Unlike in previous years, all concerts in the series are paid events. General admission to the fair is also required.
The lineup of PNE Summer Night Concerts in 2022 is as follows:
- Saturday, August 20, 2022 – The B-52s Farewell Tour
- Sunday, August 21, 2022 – Blue Rodeo
- Tuesday, August 23, 2022 – Barenaked Ladies and Kim Mitchell
- Wednesday, August 24, 2022 – CAKE
- Thursday, August 25, 2022 – Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
- Friday, August 26, 2022 – Stars of Drag
- Saturday, August 27, 2022 – Gipsy Kings Feat. Nicolas Reyes
- Sunday, August 28, 2022 – Chicago
- Tuesday, August 30, 2022 – Steve Miller Band
- Wednesday, August 31, 2022 – TLC & Shaggy
- Thursday, September 1, 2022 – Brothers Osborne
- Friday, September 2, 2022 – Nelly
- Saturday, September 3, 2022 – BACHMAN CUMMINGS
- Sunday, September 4, 2022 – The Beach Boys
- Monday, September 5, 2022 – Chaka Khan & Patti LaBelle
Click PNE Summer Concerts for more details!
Special PNE Features
In 2022 the PNE features some of the fair’s traditional exhibits including its free SuperDogs shows, farm displays and the vendor marketplace.
PNE attractions for 2022 include the following:
- Agriculture Displays – as always a small farm has been put together in the fair’s Livestock Barns, giving people the chance to learn about the different animals and equipment in an interactive way.
- Blue’s Dance Party – children can enjoy singing and dancing with Blue the Bear and his friends at the Toon City Stage.
- The Challenger Map – a section of the BC Relief Map handcrafted by the Challenger family returns this year!
- Family Flix – at 7:30 pm every night you can watch a movie on a large outdoor screen in the Toon City zone.
- For the Love of Drag – join various “queens” as they perform favourite Pop songs in full drag.
- Marketplace – one of the traditional PNE features, there are over 200 exhibitors to explore and a wide variety of products on offer.
- Pyro-Musical Finales – watch the skies illuminate with rockets, explosions and high-voltage power along with live performers at 9:15 and 10:15 every night.
- Cooking Stage – live daily culinary demonstrations in the Rollerland Building with a focus on local chefs and ingredients.
- The SuperDogs – one of the most popular attractions every year, these highly talented dogs wow crowds with their tricks multiple times a day.
PNE Amusement Rides
The PNE features close to three dozen amusement rides. Some are for kids and others only for extreme thrill-seekers. Many of the rides spin, some drop and others just go around and around.
PNE Amusement Ride Prices
For a list of some of the rides at the PNE, and descriptions of each, see our article about Playland Rides.
At Playland, in a typical year, people buy a day pass and can enjoy the rides all day. During the PNE, on the other hand, some people buy day passes for the rides, some folks just buy tickets for individual rides, and some people don’t go on the rides at all – they enjoy all the other activities instead.
During the PNE most years, ride ticket coupons usually cost less than $2 each. Each ride then takes a varying number of tickets.
In 2022, all-day ride passes cost $45.50 at the gate for individuals who want access to all the available rides. Some of them are restricted to individuals who are at least 4 feet tall (i.e., 120 cm). For the younger ones or those who aren’t interested in the bigger rides, there is also a “Fun Pass” that costs $33.50 and grants access to just a select number of family-friendly rides.
Below we have categorized the different rides. Every person is different though, so what’s a tame ride for some can be terrifying for others. It all depends on your comfort with heights, drops, speed and spins.
PNE Kids Rides
PNE rides for little kids in a typical year include Balloon Explorers, Bug Whirled, Cool Cruzers, Choppers, Cap’n KC, Dizzy Drop, The Flutterbye, Honeybee Express, Merry-Go-Round, Teacups and the Super Slide. All of these rides are pretty tame.
There are also amusement rides that are good for almost everyone, like the Ferris Wheel, Wave Swinger and Rock-n-Cars (i.e., bumper cars).
Most of the above attractions require riders to be at least 3 feet tall, although, with a few, smaller children can still ride with a parent. With a couple of the rides there is a maximum height restriction of 5 feet, and, with a few others, smaller children taller than 36 inches still have to ride with an adult.
Medium-Level Rides at the PNE
Medium-level rides at the PNE include the Alien Abduction, Kettle Creek Mine Coaster, Octopus, Scrambler and Tilt-A-Whirl. Unless you suffer from motion sickness, most of these rides are pretty fun and not too over the top. Another popular ride is the Flume, which is a log chute-style ride where you get wet at the end.
Some people also consider the Pirate Ship a medium-level ride, although it’s definitely on the more extreme end of this category’s spectrum. We list Kettle Creek Mine Coaster above as medium-level, but on the other hand, it is also arguably at the high edge of the little kid range.
Serious PNE Rides
Some of the more serious rides at the PNE include the Atmosfear, Breakdance, the Crazy Beach Party, Gladiator and Music Express. They all rip around pretty fast! The Wooden Roller Coaster is also a serious ride when it is available.
The most serious rides at the PNE are, arguably, the Beast, Enterprise, Hell’s Gate and Hellevator. They are all pretty impressive!
The other two most extreme rides at the fair are the Drop Zone and Revelation, both of which cost extra. With the former, you are shot up into the air bungee-style, and with the other, you are spun around and around from ground level way up into the sky.
For more information about the various rides click Playland Rides Descriptions.
PNE Ride Tips
Below are some tips and advice to help you enjoy your PNE rides as much as possible.
TIP #1: If you don’t want to get wet, don’t go on the Flume. If it’s a hot sunny day though, and you do want to cool down, then head to the Flume early before the lineup gets really long. It’s an especially popular ride when the weather is hot.
TIP #2: For folks who don’t like spinning around and getting dizzy, some of the rides you’ll want to avoid include the Tilt-A-Whirl, Octopus, Breakdance, Gladiator, Scrambler and possibly even the Tea Cups.
TIP #3: If you’ve never been on a roller coaster and want to test one out, go on the Kettle Creek Mine Coaster first. It’s fun and a little crazy, but nothing too extreme.
TIP #4: In our opinion, the ride most likely to give you a heart attack is the Hellevator, followed by the Wooden Roller Coaster in years when it’s available. Rides most likely to make you queasy are the Enterprise, Revelation, Hell’s Gate, Octopus and Crazy Beach Party. Everyone is different though, so actual results may vary!
TIP #5: If you have neck or back problems, stick to the tamest rides (like the Ferris Wheel) and don’t even think about going on the roller coaster or even the bumper cars.
TIP #6: Proper footwear is required on some rides. For example, flip-flops and slip-on shoes are not allowed on the Beast or Hell’s Gate.
PNE Prize Home Lottery
Every summer the PNE has a lottery where ticket purchasers can win a dream home as well as other valuable prizes. The PNE Prize Home is usually built on the grounds of the Pacific National Exhibition and during the PNE Fair in the summer people can go inside and look around.
Most years, after the fair ends and the lucky ticket is drawn, the house is moved to another location, usually outside the Lower Mainland. In 2021, however, the house was built and could be viewed at its permanent address. This is the case again in 2022, as tours are available in Langley on select weekends in June and July. Despite that, there is still going to be a display on-site at the fair that you can visit for a taste of what the main prize home is like.
In addition to the house, other prizes in the lottery include cars, vacations and cash.
To learn more about the lottery see our article about the PNE Prize Home Lottery.
General Tips and Advice
Here are some more tips and suggestions on how to make the most out of your experience at the PNE:
TIP #1: You don’t have to go on rides to enjoy the PNE – you can easily spend the whole day just taking in the sights and entertainment. If you just want the rides, then you can go to Playland when the PNE isn’t taking place. Go in May, June, July, early August or late September.
TIP #2: If you don’t like crowds, then the Pacific National Exhibition might not be the best place to go as it is such a popular place. Good times to avoid the masses though include rainy days and in the evenings from about 7:30 until 9:30 while everyone is at the concerts.
For a look at some of the many great things to see and do at the Pacific National Exhibition, check out the video below.
PNE Christmas and Other Winter Events
The PNE is most famous for its end-of-summer Fair and Playland rides. The place hosts major events at other times of the year too though, including at Christmas. A couple of years ago it was the host venue for the Aurora Winter Festival. It hosted the Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival before that. In 2021 the Pacific National Exhibition hosted the PNE WinterLights drive-thru event.
PNE WinterLights happened on select dates between December 3rd and the 31st in 2021. At the event people piled into their cars and drove around a route filled with holiday illuminations, Christmas-y scenes and live entertainment.
People who attended PNE WinterLights in 2021 got to explore 9 magical lands from the comfort of their cars. They saw all kinds of beautiful scenes on their journey, including two light tunnels and a new Snowglobe Village area.
Admission to PNE WinterLights in 2021 cost between $37 and $42 for vehicles with up to 8 people. Tickets need to be purchased in advance for specific time slots.
For more information about Playland and the PNE, check out the following:
- Playland (Vancouver’s summer amusement park when the PNE isn’t happening)
- PNE Concert Lineup
- Playland Rides
For information on the PNE in October, click PNE Fright Nights at Halloween.
Other articles that may be of interest include the following:
- Abbotsford Agrifair (on the August Long Weekend)
- Labour Day Long Weekend
- Vancouver’s August and September Calendars
- Festivals & Events Calendar
- Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- Best Places for Children