The Canadian Lakehead Exhibition is all about tradition.
It’s why generation after generation have made the trek to the fairgrounds for 124 years. The crowds were there again on Wednesday, the CLE opening its grounds for yet another year.
Nineteen-year-old Brandon Chevrier said there’s nothing not to like about the annual event, joined by several friends on opening day.
“I wanted to have some fun. It’s something to look forward to every year. It’s almost a tradition in Thunder Bay for a lot of families to come and enjoy the atmosphere and have good times with family and friends,” said Chevrier, guessing he’s paid the CLE a visit for at least the past seven years.
His buddy, Max Brown, couldn’t agree more.
“Just to come and have some fun with my friends,” he said, asked what brought him out.
For Cynthia Hays, it’s the thing to do each summer, even though she’s not originally from Thunder Bay.
Only a couple of hours in and she said she and her kids were having a fantastic time.
“It’s tradition and the children are having a great time. It’s fun and it’s safe, a great environment,”
Daughter Taylor can’t get enough.
“It’s so fun and everywhere you go there are rides. It’s awesome and I love it,” said the nine-year-old, looking forward to a ride on the starship and the bumper cars.
Her friend, Natalie St. Jacques said it’s all about finding friends.
“You get to see people you know. It’s just fun,” the 12-year-old said.
Organizer Ralph Scharp, the CLE chair, said he expects huge crowds this year, with 2,000 more advance tickets purchased this year than last.
It’s an exciting day, he added.
“It’s just delightful to see the children coming through the gate,” he said.
The fair is more than just rides, though patrons were lining up for the pirate ship, Ferris wheel and Zipper.
There’s plenty of entertainment on tap each day, including hypnotist The Incredible Boris, Aaron Pritchett (Friday) and Platinum Blonde (Sunday). Kids World includes the likes of Reptile Rob and Rodney Brown, and for kids of all ages, there’s the perennial favourite petting zoo.
Scharf said he’s really looking forward to the cooking demos, which take place at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. each day in the Dove building.
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