CNE Toronto 2012
The 2012 Toronto CNE is poised to fill you with fried butter and teach you about military history, because what better way is there to wrap up the summer? This year's Exhibition will kick off on August 17, bringing with it new bacon-focused food stalls and star-laced ice dancing performances. Also new this year is an exhibit that showcases the role of the grounds in the war of 1812. Plenty of old favourites are returning, too (no, I'm not referring to the concert lineup), with ticket and pricing information available here.
Here are some highlights for the 2012 CNE
SPECIAL EVENTS and ATTRACTIONS
Aerial Acrobatics & Ice Skating Show
A show that will feature Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, 2010 Olympic gold medalists and 2012 World Championship gold medalists for ice dancing. Needless to say, this show promises to be good (just so long as you're not prone to spontaneous inferiority complexes). Elvis Stojko will also make appearances for the final three days of the show.
Illusionist Ted Outerbridge
Ready to make his CNE debut, Ted Outerbridge will be performing his illusions twice daily throughout the duration of the Exhibition. Illusions, not tricks. Outerbridge has been hailed as one of the most successful magicians in Canada, and he certainly knows how to put on a show
Comedic Hypnotist Terrance B
Another CNE first-timer all the way from across the pond. Terrance B will be hosting his show at the Variety Stage two times each afternoon, combining comedy and people in trance-like states, and comedy derived from people in trance-like states.
To the chagrin of downtown condo-dwellers and delight of aviation-enthusiasts, the Canadian International Air Show returns to the CNE for the 63rd time this year. The show has been tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. on each day of the Labour Day weekend.
FOOD and DRINK
Can the CNE really top the ostentatious show of gluttony that was the doughnut cheeseburger of yesteryear? It looks like it might try (though fear not; the doughnut cheeseburger and its deep-fried Coke and deep-fried butter compadres will be back). Behold some of the new food stalls of indulgence:
I expect lineups. This stall will offer everything bacon (obviously), including deep-fried bacon-covered hotdogs, bacon sundaes, bacon popcorn, and sandwiches of Nutella bacon and Jack Daniels bacon. Not kosher.
Also obviously named, and sure to garner a crowd. PULL'D will be the one stall satiating cravings we never knew we had, such as pulled pork on a pancake or pulled beef on a pretzel bun. Because why the hell not, right?
Just Cone It!
We all know food tastes better on a stick. But in a cone? This stall will offer sweet and savoury cones, with unusual options (of course) such as shepherd's pie and Philly cheese steak. You can also opt to create your own cone.
What fun would deep-fried-bacon-everything be without at least one stall to make you feel guilty. Vie will boast a lineup of unprocessed, raw, organic vegan foods including pizza, wraps, salads and desserts. Their slogan might as well be, "Hey you over there with the deep fried butter: your choices are bad and you should feel bad."
Food Truck Frenzy
Seventeen food trucks all in a row: call it the beginning of a food-loving fairytale. This "Food Truck Frenzy" will be held from August 24-26, on Princes' Boulevard in front of the Allstream and Direct Energy Centres.
CONCERTS and MUSIC
Here's just a glimpse of some of the live performances on this year's CNE roster. There'll be more vintage acts than performers du jour (as is typical for the CNE), but a superb lineup nonetheless. All concerts are free with admission.
Nick Carter with Andrew Allen — Bandshell Park, Aug 19, 7:30 p.m.
Time to relive those just-won't-die Backstreet Boys days with a solo performance by Nick Carter. Nick just released an album titled "I'm Taking Off," which practically begs for some sort of snide remark. I'll refrain.
Freddie McGregor — Bandshell Park, Aug 22, 7:30 p.m.
About time the Bandshell got a little reggae. Freddie McGregor will be making his CNE debut in celebration of 50 years of Jamaican independence.
The Spinners — Bandshell Park, Aug 23, 7:30 p.m.
Rained out last year, and back for another go, these guys were doing R&B vocal harmonies long before Boyz II Men made it "cool." Are you ready for love?
Don McLean — Bandshell Park, Aug 24, 7:30 p.m.
The legend himself, a stone's throw from the candy floss machine and guy trying to sell you basket tosses for $2. Whatever — it's Don McLean; I'd wade through it all to hear "Vincent" live.
The Tea Party — Bandshell Park, August 31, 7:30 p.m.
On the heels of a series of rave-reviewed shows across Canada, The Tea Party is stopping in at the CNE to ride (or prod) the wave. Then it's on to Australia to continue the reunion tour.
Rising Star Talent Finals — Bandshell Park, September 2, 7:30 p.m.
Always a huge hit, and back for its 26th year. Wannabe stars will perform for prize money and a chance to compete at the Canadian Youth Talent Competition in Winnipeg. It's just like American Idol without the inane Jennifer Lopez interruptions.
Tribute Bands — Midway Stage, Various times
The next best thing to actually seeing Tina Turner, Kiss, The Police, or the Eagles. No, well, the next best thing is probably blasting "Hotel California" poolside with a group of your closest friends, but this will do. Click here for the full Midway schedule.
Battleground CNE: The Military History of the CNE Grounds
Before it was midway rides and candy apples, the CNE grounds actually played host to the Battle of York, one of the most ruthless battles of the War of 1812. The Battleground CNE exhibit explores the impact of war on the site, with a special emphasis on the War of 1812 (since 2012 marks the 200th anniversary). Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Remember When Pavilion at the Direct Energy Centre.
Rock 'n Roll Will Never Die
That may be so, but those damn Jonas Brothers sure gave it a run for its money. In any case, this exhibit explores the history of rock 'n roll from the last 50 years, boasting rare photos and memorabilia from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Rolling Stones. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Hall A of the Direct Energy Centre.
The CNE runs August 17-September 3.