It’s difficult to imagine a more affordable means of stimulating all the senses and emotions than The fair at the PNE.
There’s hardly anything more evocative than the smell of frying onions and mini-donuts to herald the height of summer. The incessant screams of children, a perennial favorite, rouse the auditory senses at the Playland midway (and elsewhere). The feel of a sheep’s wool or a sweaty security rail on the Tilt-a-Whirl, or the world-famous wooden roller coaster are tactile enchantments. Taste? Whoever invented umami as a word should edit the Oxford English Dictionary to describe the culinary options here.
Emotions? A day at the PNE runs the gamut. Fear, obviously, while lining up for the Beast. Joy at the sight of newborn piglets, lambs, bunnies and ducklings. Anger at stepping in cow manure. Envy at whoever takes this year’s magnificent prize home.
The lineup of free Summer Night Concerts is always impressive — this year including Daughtry, Colbie Caillat and Christina Perri, and Daryl Hall and John Oates.
This year’s Fair at the PNE also has a few major new additions such as a Beatles memorabilia exhibit, a whole dinosaur thing to entertain the tots, and a craft beer fest to get away from them.
It’s also worth noting that Peter Pan, the Broadway musical, plays nightly — is included in the ticket price and features Cathy Rigby, who is an icon for her Olympic gymnastics achievements but also because she busted the taboo against talking about women’s cycles on TV. Yeah, that used to be a thing.
It costs about $16 to get into The Fair and children 13 and under receive free admission. A ride pass is $42.75. That adds up to a fraction of the price of a ticket to the opera or theatre a few blocks west and truly a world away.