Take one part super cute animals.
Add two parts fun and fast midway rides.
Three huge scoops of top-notch stage shows.
A cup and a half of live music from big name performers.
Then fold in a couple handfuls of indulgent carnival food.
That right there is the recipe for the Red River Ex, which brings all the thrills one could possibly ask for from June 17-26 at 3977 Portage Avenue (Red River Exhibition Park), approximately 25 minutes from downtown Winnipeg (here's a map).
Let's start with that first ingredient, because I kid you not when it comes to cute animals, the Red River Ex will never get your goat -- in fact it offers plenty bang for your buck. (For those of you counting at home, that was a triple Capra aegagrus hircus joke, which is worth 100 pun points).
This animal awesomeness is not just reserved for kids (baby goats) and bucks (male goats)! Neigh sir, they have enough animals and agriculture fun to fill several farms.
Yew (okay, we'll stop now) have Discovery Place and Touch the Farm -- where you can get up-close to numerous little animals; the new Continental Stock Dog Competition -- where clever canines compete at wrangling up sheep in the Main Show Ring for a $10,000 cash prize; Living Dinosaurs -- where reptile expert Little Ray will show your kids real dinosaur fossils, along with living reptiles and birds; and everyone's favourite, Meet the Breeds -- where you can see purebred dogs from members of the Canadian Kennel Club. #socute #adorbs
And I haven't even told you about the Canine Stars -- those fantastic frisbee catching dogs that are all about agility, sheep shearing, or Pig Tales -- where industry experts can tell you all about these fascinating animals.
Riding away from the farm we have rides almost as far as the eye can see courtesy of the world's largest travelling midway! This year the Ex has more rides than ever before, from cool little rides for the little kiddies, to big, adrenaline pumping rides for you thrill seekers out there like the Mach 3, the Blitzer Roller Coaster and the new Himalaya -- which will make you feel like socks in the spin cycle.
With 30+ big rides, along with over 20 tailored specifically for the kiddies, there's no shortage of options. Plus, you can buy a Pay-One-Price Ride All Day Wristband for only $37 (which includes the price of admission). More ride ticket info here.
For stage shows, there's certainly no shortage of "wow" factor. For starters, you have the "world's best extreme pogo demo crew -- the Xpogo Stunt Team -- who catch up to 10 ft. of air while doing tricks so insane it will curl your toes. These dudes hold over 13 current Guinness World Records. Just check out this video, it will blow you away.
There's also iFlip, a group of tumbling, trampolining acrobats who bring high-flying fun for the whole family. And don't forget about the Highland Games -- where you can see muscly men clad in kilts throwing heavy things about, along with the Community Stage -- where daily dance groups entertain the crowds. There's even Hypnotist Dale K, who always brings a funny, fascinating show.
And how about that lineup of Main Stage Shows?!? This year the Ex has brought in Canadian icon Steven Page, timeless rockers Harlequin, and acclaimed group The Sadies, who will be playing with Terra Lightfoot -- who just this week The Globe and Mail has gone ga ga over!
Plus, there is all that food! There will be a bunch of Winnipeg Food Trucks on the scene, while the Midway brings everything to satisfy your carnival cravings -- from a pail's worth of mini doughnuts, to deep fried Oreos, to all manner of ice cream.
So get your tickets now! Because The Ex marks the spot when it comes to good times!
And for all you Instagrammers out there (which surely must be most of you), we're holding a photo contest this year where the winner will win a night stay at the awesome ALT Hotel Winnipeg along with $50 for dinner at Carnaval Brazilian BBQ. To enter, all you have to do is take a photo at the Ex and use the hashtags #redriverex2016 & #onlyinthepeg.