A Taste of the PNE: Drive-Thru Fair Experience happens in Vancouver from August 22nd until the 30th in 2020. It features SuperDogs, food trucks and more!
PLAYLAND IN MAY
Playland is open from 11 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays in May 2021. The amusement park is running as a separate event from the PNE though. Dates and details regarding the PNE in 2021 are to be confirmed.
Vancouver’s 2020 PNE Fair
Because of COVID-19 and the need for physical distancing, Vancouver’s annual PNE Fair isn’t the same this year as it has been in the past. It’s still happening though, and will still be tons of fun!
In 2020 the PNE takes place in a drive-thru format where attendees get to explore the exhibits from the comfort and safety of their cars. While driving around the venue visitors can see SuperDogs doing tricks and dance groups performing. There are also giant model dinosaur exhibits and farm animal displays, as well as a drive-thru food truck area for people wanting mini donuts, poutine and other festival snacks.
The PNE’s Drive-Thru Fair Experience event is like a reverse parade, where instead of standing at the side of the road and watching floats, bands and other performers march or drive by, attendees are the ones driving around the place and it’s the entertainers and exhibits lining the route.
Where is the PNE in 2020?
The PNE Fair’s Drive-Thru event takes place in the fairgrounds of the Pacific National Exhibition, as usual, on East Hastings Street near the Trans-Canada Highway in East Vancouver. It doesn’t use up the entire venue though, as it does in years when there isn’t a pandemic. Also, access to the venue is via Gate 9 which is off Bridgeway Street in the northeast corner of the site.
The area where Playland‘s amusement park rides are located, which is normally part of the Fair in late August, is not part of the PNE this year. Playland is running on weekends in 2020, and you can still enjoy the rides there during the Fair on Saturdays and Sundays, but it is happening as a separate event and requiring a totally different admission ticket.
With the PNE itself, in 2020, people explore the fair by driving around the fairgrounds in a set route. All of the exhibits and entertainment are outdoors.
When is the PNE in 2020?
In 2020 A Taste of the PNE: Drive-Thru Fair Experience runs from August 22nd until August 30th. It’s open almost every day from 11:00 am until 7:00 pm. The one day that it’s closed is Monday, August 24th.
When buying tickets online people have to select both the day and time of their visit. Tickets are sold in half-hour time slots (e.g., at 11:00 am, 11:30 am, 12:00 pm, etc.).
2020 PNE Admission Prices
Admission to the PNE’s drive-thru event at the end of August costs $25 per carload. The price includes admission for everyone in the car, plus 2 free admission tickets to opening day of the PNE Fair in 2021. Also included is one souvenir face mask (which is worth about $10 and looks really cool).
Food at the drive-thru food vendor area costs extra. At recent drive-thru events at the PNE, like on Canada Day and BC Day, guests were able to order their food in advance. This time, however, orders are placed with each vendor on site when you make your purchase.
2020 PLAYLAND DETAILS
On Saturday, August 22nd, in addition to the regular daytime hours, the amusement park is also open in the evening, from 6:00 until 11:00 pm. On that evening people can ride into the night and see all the rides lit up! One ticket doesn’t apply to both time slots though. You have to select either a day or evening ticket. The evening session on the Saturday is open to people of all ages and alcohol is not available (as it is with “Playland Nights” which are adult-only events that have taken place in the past).
Admission to Playland, as opposed to the PNE, costs $29.50 for people wanting to ride over a dozen of the tamer rides (which don’t require fun-seekers to be over 48 inches tall). For folk wanting access to all 20+ rides at the amusement park this year, including serious ones like The Beast, Wooden Roller Coaster and AtmosFear, the cost is $39.50.
What to Expect at the PNE’s Drive Thru Event
The PNE’s 2020 Drive Thru Experience starts with a 10-minute SuperDogs show. That’s followed by a drive past farm exhibits and the reverse parade. At the end of the tour you pass four massive dinosaurs and the PNE Prize Home before heading to the food truck drive-thru area.
When you go to the Pacific National Exhibition this year you enter thru Gate #9 which is accessed via Bridgeway Street on the east side of the fairgrounds.
Once inside you head to the amphitheatre area for the SuperDogs show. Cars line up in rows like they would at a drive-in movie theatre. While waiting for the show to start, a couple of dogs tell jokes on a large screen. Once all the cars are parked, the SuperDogs Tailgate Party begins.
The SuperDogs perform for about 10 minutes. They leap over jumping walls, catch Frisbees and show off their balancing and dancing skills. It’s a fun show and everyone honks their car horns in appreciation.
When the SuperDogs Tailgate Party finishes, cars slowly exit the amphitheatre area and drive into the fairgrounds. First they pass the farm animal area. The road there is lined with model cows, tractors and real animals including geese, donkeys, goats and cows.
Following the farm animals, the next attraction is the Reverse Parade. It’s about a couple of blocks long and consists of colourful structures and people dancing. It’s fun to see.
After the Reverse Parade, the tour ends as you drive past four giant inflatable dinosaurs, the PNE Prize Home and a row of cars that you can win if you buy a lottery ticket. That’s the end of the main part of the tour, but not the end of the event. Next up is the food vendor drive-thru!
2020 PNE Video
To give you an idea of what to expect at the PNE Drive-Thru in 2020, check out the following video.
2020 PNE Food Vendors
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 good selection.
Some of the PNE’s traditional favourites you can expect to see this year include the Corn Dog King, Dole Whip Soft Serve, 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.
To learn more about the food stalls in 2020, and to see a video showcasing some of the featured treats, check out our article about Food Vendors at the PNE Fair.
To learn more about A Taste of the PNE: Drive-Thru Fair in 2020, see the Official PNE Website.
For a virtual tour of the PNE Prize Home, or to buy tickets for the lottery, visit pneprizehome.ca.
To learn about what the Fair is like in years without COVID-19, see our main article about the Pacific National Exhibition.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Events at the PNE
- Fright Nights at the PNE
- Aurora Winter Festival at the PNE
- Labour Day Long Weekend in Vancouver
- Vancouver Activities for Children
- Vancouver Summer Activities
- Lower Mainland Festivals & Events