With 1 weekend left, 2023 CNE attendance expected to meet or beat last year’s

Click to play video: 'Massive ‘Superwheel’ helps attract up to 80,000 people a day at CNE'
Massive ‘Superwheel’ helps attract up to 80,000 people a day at CNE
WATCH ABOVE: Massive 'Superwheel' helps attract up to 80,000 people a day at CNE – Aug 21, 2023

With one weekend left of the Canadian National Exhibition, organizers expect the total attendance for the 2023 event will meet or exceed last year’s.

This year’s event began on Aug. 18 and wraps up on Labour Day Monday, with plenty still to see this long weekend.

The CNE said in a statement Friday that organizers anticipate the total attendance for the event will meet or exceed the 1.56 million seen in 2022, when The Ex returned following a two-year pandemic hiatus. Last year was one of the largest attendance figures the CNE has seen in the past seven years, the statement said.

“Even if we get close to last year’s attendance, it would be more impressive to achieve those numbers without the pent-up demand from the pandemic that fuelled the near record crowds last year,” CNE CEO Darrell Brown said.

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The CNE said this year’s “balance of new and nostalgic” attractions “proved to be a winning formula.”

An employee of the So Cute Ice Cream stall holds up a cheese-coated waffle cone, topped with a pretzel and fresh pickle, left, and a Street Corn Ice Cream with lime, cotija cheese, and chilli seasoning during a Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) media preview in Toronto on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

One of those attractions is the The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains, which is being extended until Oct. 1.

For those looking to head out to The Ex this weekend, there are 110 vendors in the Food Building, more than 100 concessions and games in the Midway and more than 700 indoor and outdoor retail vendors.

The Canadian International Airshow is also being held from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 2 to 4, which will be sure to draw large crowds. The show will feature the Canadian Snowbirds the US Navy Blue Angels.

Other highlights this weekend include performances on the CNE Bandshell Stage, the CNE’s Rising Star Competition Finals, an ice skating and acrobatics show with Elvis Stojko, and the Food Truck Frenzy and Craft Beer Festival.

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The CNE said a recent study indicates that the event generates an economic impact of around $112 million for the GTA and $142 million for the province each year when in operation.

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