Wednesday, August 22, 2018

CNE 2018 – Food, Shows and Events You Don’t Want to Miss

Well it’s that time of year again, the end of summer is near and the Canadian National Exhibition is buzzing with games, rides and delicious scents. As mentioned in last year’s guide – Tips for Visiting the CNE – How to Make the Most of Your Visit, I’ve been attending the Ex before I was tall enough to go on the big kid rides and I still look forward to it every year. For the fair's 140th anniversary there are delectable new treats to sample (usually deep fried and doused in sugar) plus brilliant exhibits that will knock your socks off!

One of my favorite new attractions is Legends of the Silk Road Lantern Display celebrating Chinese tourism. The 17 illuminated installations feature mythical scenes in a kaleidoscope of mesmerizing color.  

I couldn’t choose just one photo so get ready for a dazzling display of lights!

Aquarama is a fast-paced Vegas style show taking place on the lakefront. Performing on water skis is hard enough but these daring artists tackle jaw dropping pyramid formations (balancing on each other’s shoulders) and exhilarating aerial stunts that will leave you speechless.

All that excitement might make you hungry so head over to The Royal Crepe (just behind the ferris wheel and Orbiter ride) to try the mouth-watering Rainbow KitKat Crepe. This colorful French pastry is stuffed with creamy Nutella, KitKat bars, banana and strawberry. It also comes with a scoop of ice cream drizzled in various sauces (doesn’t get much better than this).

The crunchy Potato Spuds are still a midway classic, try them with a dusting of garlic powder or a dollop of ketchup.

The CNE is the place to satisfy your craving for wacky food concoctions like deep fried Mars Bar, frog legs, rainbow grilled cheese and chicken feet but this year they've kicked it up a notch by offering the mother of all burgers. For $100.00 you get a juicy patty crowned with a 24K gold bun. This edible mountain is available at Bacon Nation. 

Photo: Canadian National Exhibition

I always look forward to the Aerial Acrobatics and Ice Skating Show which is a magical mash-up of Cirque du Soleil and Stars on Ice.

The Sand Sculpture display is impressive and this year competitors from all over the world are showcasing their skills.

For more awesome sculptures check out the butter carvings done by hand!

There is also a new booth of animal figurines made entirely from recycled flip flops!

The Food Building is always jam packed with bizarre culinary combinations, new flavor fusions and hearty favorites. This year I tried the Stuffed Doritos from Farm to Fryer which were crispy and loaded with gooey cheese.

If you missed it last year, Frans is still cooking up their famous Thanksgiving Waffle stuffed with seasoned turkey and gravy.

At the CNE it seems mandatory to eat dessert with every meal and Chimney Stax serves delicious ice cream stuffed into sweet rotisserie baked bread.

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, the Nook of Gnomes is pretty neat. These 12 foot garden dwellers are crafted out of moss and colorful foliage.

After a morning of rides and games, head to the International Stage for a line-up of cultural performances or browse the Arts & Crafts Building to spruce up your decor. I found these beautiful handmade wood roses for just $1.00 each! 

The pavilions also have a wide selection of clothing, electronics, multicultural booths, appliances and more. The Farm Building offers educational activities and lots of adorable animals.

Food Truck Frenzy and Craft Beer Fest always draws me in for a second visit. My favorite is the butter chicken poutine but there are many scrumptious dishes to try (make sure to come hungry).

If aviation is your thing, don't miss the Air Show (Sept 1-3 Labour Day Long-Weekend).

Bandshell Concerts have always been a big hit at the Ex. Sit back, sip your beer and enjoy great music by internationally acclaimed artists.

The fun never ends at Busker’s Corner. Shows including captivating fire tricks, comedy, dance and acrobatics. 

Photo: Canadian National Exhibition 

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