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Did butter balls save the CNE?

As the CNE struggles to maintain and even grow its audience, the future of the Canadian National Exhibition may just be coated with butter. One ball at a time.

As the CNE struggles to maintain and even grow its audience, the future of the Canadian National Exhibition may just be coated with butter. One ball at a time.

Rename it the “Canadian Butter Exhibition” and they will come — with tongues drooling.

“It was extraordinary. Nobody predicted this success,” David Bednar, 58, general manager of the CNE, said of the debut of deep-fried butter balls.

Bednar goes so far as to say the CNE might have received a boost from the calorie-rich treat (315 calories for a four-sample serving size).

Final attendance figures for the Ex won’t be released until a board meeting in October, but Bednar expects the number to be either similar to or lower than last year’s 1.32 million.

“Our attendance will probably be a little worse than expectations,” Bednar said.

“I was amazed that this became as big as it was,” Bednar said after the 132-year-old fair closed with a whimper, amid rain and following Saturday’s cancelled air show.

Traditionally, the last weekend can make or break attendance. “Before the bad weather hit, we were heading to a good year,” Bednar said.

The CNE is undertaking an outreach study to examine why more people aren’t coming to the Exhibition.

 
 
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