August 21st, opening day of the CNE, the “EX” as it’s known. I questioned if it was a good idea to go on this day as admission was only $1.75 instead of the usual $15, so I figured it might be a zoo. Unfortunately, I was right.

From waiting for the third of three jam-packed buses just to get there, to lining up outside the gate, to fighting the crowds to get anywhere on the grounds, it was a crazy day. I doubt they beat the previous attendance record of 250,000 for a single day, but at times it sure felt like it. Before this day I harbored no ill will towards strollers, but after a day of fighting with a thousand off-road behemoths I don’t want to see another one, ever. I know they are a necessity but they don’t fit well on crowded public transit. Someone’s going to lose an eye soon.

Despite the crowds there were many highlights during the day. One of the funniest was Michael Harrison, the ventriloquist. He does two shows every day and don’t miss him, no matter what. Because of the crowds and how hard it was to get from one place to the other, I missed a lot of things, but I did enjoy what I did get to. During the oh so hot summer afternoon I thoroughly enjoyed having a drink at the Budweiser patio bar, listening to great blues. It was here that I also managed to get one of those once in a lifetime shots of the death-drop midway ride. Later I got to revisit Woodstock, listening to Canned Heat. The bass guitarist, Larry “The Mole” Taylor did his second gig with the band at the original Woodstock, so you can guess how old he is! They were amazing and did a great show. There was some tie-dyed clothing and gray pony tails around.

The day ended with a nightmarish trip out of the grounds on the TTC, packed lImage039ike sardines into a streetcar, but I made it home in one piece.

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