08/17/2013 11:57 EDT

PNE Vancouver 2013: Things To See And Do At The Fair


The end of summer break is in sight, and that means it's time to brace yourself for disco dogs and deep fried anything you can think of and head to the annual Pacific National Exhibition!

In an effort to battle falling numbers, organizers have cut admission prices from $20 to $16 this year, ramped up the live music series and are trying out what they promise to be a blockbuster exhibition.

Genghis Khan: The Exhibition will feature ancient weapons and murals depicting battles that helped the infamous Mongol reign over an area that spanned continents, from modern-day Korea all the way to eastern Europe.

PNE president and CEO Michael McDaniel has high expectations.

"It's a museum-quality piece, it's got actual bona fide artifacts," he told The Huffington Post B.C.

He is also pumped about the revitalized Summer Nights Concerts series featuring The Beach Boys, Melissa Etheridge, Lights, the Sam Roberts Band, the remaining members of the Jackson 5 and others.

And this will be the time spectators can reserve seats for the shows..

"If you want to see (The Beach Boys), you can spend $20 and get your reserved seat, and know exactly where you're sitting," McDaniel enthused.

Reserved seats are already a hot ticket item, with approximately 8,500 sold before the fair has even started.

Alongside old favourites such as mini-donuts, crazy dogs and deep-fried Oreo cookies, there are also new food items promised.

"Reel Mac and Cheese" puts a twist on the classic comfort dish with the Slumdog Millionaire (curry paste and peas), the Breakfast Club (classic mac with a fried egg on top) and Run Fatboy Run (deep-fried mac and cheese).

A PNE day may be a day of indulgence for some, but more health conscious patrons might prefer offerings from "Lemon Grass Chicken", where the bird is cooked with a mixture of steam and convection hot air.

"You do get healthy food at the fair," McDaniel said. "You do have to look for it and you do have to walk past a bunch of deep-fried stuff, but yes, there's something for everybody."

He's hoping that the lowered ticket prices and new attractions boost attendance after the last two years saw 180,000 fewer patrons visit the fair.

The lower entrance fee is being absorbed by keeping the fair closed on its first two Mondays.

Check out the attractions you can find at this year's PNE.

Photo gallery PNE Attractions 2013 See Gallery

Food: Choose between the traditional cotton candy, corn dogs and mini-donuts, or take a walk on the wilder side with a mac-and-cheese hot dog, deep-fried oreo cookies or burgers made of kangaroo and ostrich.

Rides: Rides including the Hellevator, a vertical drop that falls at zero-gravity, the wave swinger, a carousel that gives you a wide view of the fairgrounds, and of course, the Wooden Roller Coaster, a rickety old concoction that's been thrilling people since 1958, should keep everyone happy.

Music: Reserve your seats now for the Summer Concerts Seriesand you could be rocking out to Lights, Corb Lund, Martina McBride or Vancouver's own Loverboy.

Exhibitions: A tribute to Genghis Khan is the new event on the block, while the Safeway Farm Country keeps the kids happy with the barnyard animals and, of course, the pig races.

Prize Home Lottery: This year's grand prize is a 3,000-square-foot home to be located at Sun Peaks near Kamloops with interior design by "Love It Or List It" host Jillian Harris. Daily tours of the home are available.