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FREX gets a new name, but keeps all the old favourites

It’s Friday night. While most people are getting ready for Dolan’s or wherever else they go, I’m up to something a little different.

The first week of September marks the beginning of class but also the Fredericton Exhibition (FREX), though this year there is something else a little different: the event is now being called the New Brunswick Provincial Exhibition (NBEX).

“We’re trying to move forward to get more people out here. We’re implementing change so that more than 50 per cent of attendees are from outside Fredericton,” said Mike Vokey, executive director for NBEX.

He thinks that though the exhibition is about fun, it has to have an educational twist.

“1.8 per cent of people of this world do agriculture, so it’s time to educate people. Food doesn’t just come from Sobeys or Superstore, you need to know where it comes from. So it goes back to the farmers and the exhibition has opportunities for people to learn.”

Rides, games, animals, chainsaw carvings — they have it all. But this year had a few different events to make it special.

“We’ve changed up the entertainment lineup this year. We want to attract younger families and make it affordable for anyone.”

As it gets darker, the exhibition grounds light up with people and rides. The lines are long, real long, so no rides for me. The food is always a great thing to go for. Cotton candy, candy apples, Dippy Dogs and snow cones are just a few treats for those who go to this annual event.

People of all ages and walks of life are there, and for different reasons. The older generations like the animals and the exhibits inside, while the younger ones are there for the rides and maybe the petting zoo.

Something I learned was that the carnies can’t talk to you. They get to travel city to city and run their game or ride every day. One man told me he gets paid by commission so he couldn’t tell me about his adventures. He did however tell me that Rick Mercer was in town on Sept. 8 and played his game.

Twenty-two-year-old Dale Gray has been living in Fredericton for about a month now. He found that this was a great event for the city.

“Coming from Halifax, I didn’t know what the city had to offer. I knew that Fredericton had an exhibition but I didn’t know it was this big. So many events, great for everyone,” he said.

To top off the night’s festivities: a fireworks display across the Fredericton sky. The show amazed us.

“The fireworks in Halifax for Canada Day are insane, but these were just as good,” said Gray.

Vokey said that this year’s exhibition has been a little more successful than last year but would like to see even more improvements.

“We want to keep growing next year and want people from all over coming. And we’re always open to suggestions and new ideas on what we can do to make it better.”

To sum up my night, I played a few games, got ice cream, got to see a great firework show and went home with a Care Bear. Pretty successful night, right?

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