The 2020 Pacific National Exhibition might be a bit different compared to previous years, but it still features fun activities and delicious PNE food.
The same as every year, on the menu in 2020 are mini donuts, deep-fried desserts, foot-long hot dogs and other tasty treats!
In 2020, because of COVID-19, the PNE is taking place in a drive-thru format. People drive into the venue, watch a live SuperDogs show, and then tour around the fairgrounds in their cars. The route goes past farm animal exhibits, a reverse parade and giant inflatable dinosaurs. At the end of the route, there is the drive-thru food truck area.
To learn more about this year’s PNE Drive Thru Experience, check out our article about the PNE in 2020 or visit the attraction’s official website at pne.ca. To learn about this year’s food vendors, and what they have looked like in previous years, see below.
Food Vendors at the PNE in 2020
The Pacific National Exhibition at the end of the summer wouldn’t be the PNE Fair without its food vendors. Although there are fewer vendors participating in 2020, there is still a great selection. Normally there are over 70 food stalls on site. This year there are a dozen (but including several of the very best)!
Some of the Fair’s traditional favourites you can expect to see this year include the Corn Dog King, Foot Long Hot Dogs, the Mini Donut Factory, Hunky Bills Perogies, Unroutine Poutine, Twisted Potato and Steve O’s Fried Desserts, plus about four or so more.
The PNE had its annual food tour for the media on August 25th and we attended. We got to sample Godzilla macaroni from Reel Mac & Cheese, corn dog samples from the Corn Dog King and perogies from Hunky Bill’s.
We also got to try some delicious noodles from Salt Spring Noodle Bar, a gourmet hot dog from Foot Long Hot Dogs, a deep-fried Kit Kat, and a donut chicken burger from Steve O’s. There was also poutine, twisted potatoes, mini donuts, and pineapple whip ice cream from Summerland Soft Serve.
All the food was delicious! So glad we went on an empty stomach!
For tickets to the Fair in 2020 visit pne.ca.
To learn about what’s happening this year, see the PNE’s official website or check out our article about the Pacific National Exhibition in 2020.
PNE Food Vendors Video
To give you an idea of what to expect at the PNE’s drive-thru food vendor area in 2020 check out the following video. As you’ll see, there is a wide selection of tasty offerings.
PNE Food Vendors from Past Years
Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition is famous for its festival foods. In a typical year there are over 70 PNE vendors selling everything from donuts to BBQ ribs.
Each year a number of new foods are featured. Festival-goers can also try a wide range of traditional ethnic cuisine, as well as crazy treats like deep-fried Mars bars and, a couple of years ago, even bug-covered candied apples. The selection is extreme!
PNE Media Food Tours
Each year the PNE offers members of the media a tour of the Fair’s food vendor lineup. We attended the tour in 2020, where we got to sample the above-mentioned foods. We also got to join the tour a couple of years ago. Below is a description of what we got to see and eat on that previous tour.
In 2018 we headed out early in the morning, before the place opened to the public, and sampled some of the latest and craziest food items at the fair.
On the menu for breakfast was a sample of smoking charcoal ice cream, a piña colada slurpee (with rum), a Korean-style hot dog, a watermelon ice cream sandwich, a deep-fried Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wrapped in bacon, a deep-fried hamburger, a milkshake burger, a 1-pound Italian meatball and mini donuts. To help wash it all down, the final delicacy was a cricket-coated caramel apple!
PNE 2018 Food Tour Video
Below is a video about the media food tour we got to go on in 2018. Speaking in the video is Laura Balance, a spokesperson for the PNE.
Featured vendors in the video include Marchant Concessions with their smoking charcoal ice cream, Diggity Dogs with their Southern Comfort and Korean BBQ hot dogs, Brian Jones from B&B Diner with his milkshake burgers, and Next Gen Concessions with their cricket caramel apples.
Also featured in the video is the exotic menu from Pickle Pete’s as well as the mini donut factory from Those Little Donuts (which celebrated its 50th year at the PNE in 2018).
More About the Food Vendors
The PNE is definitely famous for its festival-style culinary vendors and selection of foods. In 2018, similar to other years when there hasn’t been a pandemic, there were over 70 different vendors to choose from. Many return year after year, but as many as 30% or more are different each season.
Between 80% and 90% of the food vendors in 2018 were from British Columbia, and almost every other one was also from Canada. Those percentages are pretty typical for the PNE. The majority are small entrepreneurs from right here in the Lower Mainland.
Many of the food vendors at the PNE have stories. Some come from families with long cooking backgrounds, and some have been serving food at the PNE for generations.
Below is a video of Brian Jones from the B&B Diner describing his milkshake burgers to members of the media during a food tour at the PNE in 2018.
The hamburgers were like regular high-quality burgers, except that they were topped with a scoop of ice cream. We tried the “sweet and salty” version which featured rock salts, caramel drizzle and vanilla ice cream. Wow! It was like having your hamburger and milkshake at the same time!
The other hamburger being served was the diner’s garlic-vanilla milkshake burger with garlic-flavoured ice cream. We didn’t try it, but heard it was awesome!
Cricket Caramel Apples
There are always new exotic foods at the PNE and 2018 was no exception.
Next Gen Concessions offered something sweet, sustainable, sticky and with a crunch! It was their cricket caramel apple that everyone was talking about!
“They taste like peanuts with legs” said the vendor from Next Gen Concessions, and they did (kind of)!
The following video features a talk about the PNE’s cricket caramel apples during a presentation to media in August of 2018.
For full details about the Fair, see the official Pacific National Exhibition website.
To learn more about the Pacific National Exhibition check out the following articles:
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s August Calendar of Events
- Vancouver’s September Calendar of Events
- Labour Day Long Weekend in Vancouver
- Lower Mainland Activities for Children