CNE Time

I have a love hate relationship with The Canadian National Exhibition. The CNE is the death knell of summer, a cotton candy scented harbinger of doom, reminding us that the party is over and the dreariness of autumn is approaching.

At the same time, there is a lot to love about a chaotic mishmash of lights, noise and rickety rides that look like they are about to fall apart. I feel a mounting giddiness as I get closer to the entrance gates and smell the heady aroma of vomit mixed with candy apples. I love seeing the tattooed carnies, the teenagers looking for romance on the midway and the children hopped up on sugar.

Despite the association with back to school time, I adored the CNE when I was a kid. In the seventies it was teeming with long haired rocker guys with combs wedged in the back pockets of their impossibly tight jeans. I was fascinated by their sexy, tough girlfriends who had magnificent Farrah Fawcett hair and feather roach clips dangling from their purses. I’d spend hours in the Food Building stuffing myself on Tiny Tom donuts that would travel along a conveyor belt like a parade of sugary supermodels. Id eat Sno Cones until my lips were blue and ride the roller coasters, disembarking with shaky legs and lining up to do it all over again.

As I got older some of the magic faded. The Food Building is no longer a mecca of cheap eats and free samples. If I go on more than one ride I tend to feel queasy and worry about my joints being jostled. I never win at the whack-a-mole game. My feet start to hurt from all the walking, I get irritated by the crowds and I inevitably step in gum. I end up feeling like a cranky old codger in need of a cool shower and a hot cup of tea.

I had almost decided to skip it this year until I found out that there are new delicacies to be had, like fried macaroni and cheese balls. And how can I not try the deep fried butter. Who is the culinary mastermind who decided that butter should be deep fried and transformed into a snack? How can I resist that kind of diabolical alchemy?

Obviously the CNE is beckoning and I must answer it’s greasy, smelly call.

2 Responses to “CNE Time”

  1. Astra Says:

    I took my kids to the Ex this year here in Ottawa (boys wanted to see Classified!). The boys had been before but Em turned to me and said, “This is here every year??!” No sign of deep-fried macaroni and cheese or butter here, but armed with a pogo stick, requisite blue Slushie and a newly won humongous stuffie from the birthday dice tent…. I think she’s hooked! Maybe I can send her with you next year!

  2. drollgirl Says:

    snicker. the la county fair is in full force right now, and i have been thinking about going. i haven’t been to a fair since i was a kid.

    i heard a guy on npr the other day, and he said he has developed FRIED BEER. i imagine it will be making the rounds at fairs soon enough! next up will be FRIED OIL! yeesh!