Here's a little childhood story from an Ocean Sales staff member, celebrating the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), Vancouver.
Growing up in Vancouver, I was fortunate enough to attend the PNE from a very young age. It holds a special place in my heart as it was always considered a huge annual family event.
Getting ready in rider-friendly clothing and shoes, we knew it was going to be a very exciting day filled with thrills, chills, yummy food and tons of fun. We would wait for the car to be packed and then head off to what seemed like the biggest fair on Earth (at least to us)!
As kids, the drive into Vancouver from Burnaby took “forever” - in reality, it was only 25 minutes. And then there was the parking... We would drive in and out of East Vancouver lanes trying to find a spot a homeowner was renting out for the day. My brother and I weren’t exactly patient. I am sure this entire process seemed to take “forever” to my parents as well. And after the long walk to the grounds and getting through the admissions line, finally, we were in!
The smells of cotton candy and mini donuts would tickle our noses with delight. Cotton candy was a tradition for me and mini donuts for my brother. My parents were not much for the fair sweets but would sneak a bite or two of ours, every time.
We would walk the grounds and my parents would be entertained by my brother and I’s reactions as we rode rides. Mostly it was giggles and screams of joy, but sometimes the sweets didn’t stay down either; especially after riding the Tilt-a-Whirl! My mother would go on the Tilt-a-Whirl with us and often feel sick afterward too, but she toughed it out. Kind of like how I feel after rides these days.... not sure what happens as you get older, but that g-force just doesn’t sit as well as it used to.
After rides galore, a few midway games and touring the animal attractions, we would head to the food pavilion to pick out our late afternoon treats. My mother and I would always stick with one of two things: Vina Vietnamese Gourmet or the Schneider’s booth for smokies on a bun. Back then it wasn’t easy to buy smokies from the grocery store. My brother was easy and would eat almost anything, and then there was my father. No food pavilion for him – he preferred the giant chicken BBQ that was located outside. I remember the thick smoke wafting through the air... charcoal BBQs and chicken done the old fashioned way, just the way he liked it. I think it was the highlight of his day.... he wasn’t much for rides or attractions. He came for the food.
We would finish off our day in the shopping pavilion. I was always amazed at the neat gadgets they were selling there. Of course, this area of the PNE has grown exponentially since then. In fact, Ocean Sales will be showcasing over a dozen products this year at the PNE alone.
The day would end with my brother and I falling asleep in the car, exhausted from all of the excitement and sugar (crash). I cherish the memories of the PNE. A great day for the family that evolved to a cool day with friends in my teens.