Attendance at PNE 2022 about 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels: organizer

Click to play video: 'First full-scale PNE wraps up with some details for 2023 still up in the air'
First full-scale PNE wraps up with some details for 2023 still up in the air
As the 2022 PNE wraps up, there are still questions as to whether this year's attendance caps will also be in effect for 2023. Grace Ke reports – Sep 5, 2022

As the sun sets on the last day of The Fair at the PNE this year, organizers say the event this year has been a big success.

“It’s been so awesome to see everybody come back out,” Shelley Frost, president and CEO of the PNE told Global News Monday. “Our fair footprint this year was about 75 per cent of what it usually is.”

This year’s fair was a little different with the organization capping the number of ride passes and gate passes sold each day to ensure the attractions did not get too crowded.

Frost said that was partly due to the fact that they start planning for the event a year-and-a-half early.

“We didn’t know what COVID restrictions were going to look like, we didn’t know what staffing resources were going to be available,” she said. “So we had to make some hard decisions about what we thought we could realistically do.”

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She said many people told them last year that they liked the extra space and the fewer crowds so they decided to keep the same restrictions for 2022.

It is not known if the same restrictions will continue next year.

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The SuperDogs are back at centre stage with a new show at the PNE called “Pawvengers”

However, date-specific ticketing will continue, Frost said. It allows the public to plan their visit and organizers to plan for the days ahead.

Read more: Thousands attend opening day at Vancouver’s PNE Fair

The fair typically attracts more than three million visitors a year, according to the PNE.

Daniel Chan, the owner of National Massage Chairs, has been doing business at the PNE since 1975 and selling massage chairs since 1988.

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“This is the catalyst for the fall season for us,” he said. “Since ’88… it’s always been a success for us. That first year, I think we sold 75 chairs in 17 days so it’s always been really good for us.”

Chan said this fair is the first one they have attended in two years and while the crowds have been less, business has still been good.

“People wait an entire year to come and look at the chairs because this is the only place they can come and see the chairs.”

He said the visitor cap was a little concerning and he thinks it has affected business for everyone overall.

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