by Jeff Stackhouse
The PNE celebrated its 104th anniversary in style with great features such as the marketplace, farm animals, horse shows, Superdogs, and the popular mini doughnuts. The exhibition seamlessly mixed these timeless attractions with new shows like ‘Jigu! Thunder Drums of China’ which featured precision drumming, and ‘Mystic India: The World Tour’ which took the audience on a journey though India’s history via dance.
‘Game of Thrones: The Exhibit’ was the most popular PNE event in recent memory. Inside you saw costumes, swords and a dragon from the hit HBO TV series. You could even sit on the legendary Iron Throne for a truly once-in-a-lifetime photo-op. Upon exiting, attendees were able to take a 4D ride called ‘Oculus Rift: Ascend The Wall’. Through the magic of virtual reality you are taken up an elevator shaft to Westero’s mythical 700-foot ice wall. At the top you fall off a cliff while being lit on fire with arrows and dragon’s breath. Frightening, yet extremely cool!
‘Get Animated!’ was a personal highlight. In this pavilion you could see art from the world’s greatest animators, like Disney, Aardman, Laika, and DreamWorks. I am still in awe that I got to see some of Walt Disney’s original drawings and the equipment he used to photograph his animation cells.
Finally, the PNE’s evening concerts seem to improve each year. I was fortunate to see legendary R&B acts Boyz 2 Men and The Pointer Sisters. Both shows focused on the artists singing abilities and both proved how outstanding they are even decades after initially becoming famous.