Red River Ex
● June 14-23
● Red River Exhibition Park, 3977 Portage Ave.
● Advance tickets $12 at Giant Tiger, Safeway, Sobeys and Circle K locations, and redriverex.com; $15 at the gate
● Children six and under admitted free
The Red River Ex is dabbling with the finer things in life in 2019, mixing a performance by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra with cotton candy tacos and other carnival attractions.
Last year, the Ex’s 193,000 visitors braved scorching summer heat as temperatures rose to the high 20s for a week straight. This year, Mother Nature seems ready to give Manitobans a bit of a break, with forecasts predicting milder temperatures as the 10-day festival kicks off.
Welcome the light from the 3D fireworks, get the camera ready for the adorable animals, and see animatronic dinosaurs in action.
Here are 10 things the Ex has to offer for 10 days of festivities:
For some thrill-seekers, the Ex experience starts on the midway. Make sure your stomach is empty before going on the Star Dancer. This swinging, twisting and turning attraction will get your adrenaline running as it sends ride-goers closer to the stars. Traditional rides such as the Carousel, the Zipper and the Tilt-a-Whirl will return to evoke nostalgia and provide the same rush of excitement for a new generation of those who want to go faster.
For the first time in history, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra will play at the Ex and takes over the Red River Ex Main Stage on Wednesday, June 19, conveniently aligning with seniors day.
For country music lovers, local heroes Doc Walker, Leaving Thomas, Jess Moskaluke and Kendra Kay will have fans kicking up their boots.
Crash Test Dummies, Trooper and the Treble are ready to keep heads bobbing with rock music. Scott Helman, the four-time Juno Award nominee takes the stage on Saturday, June 15. As usual, Main Stage concerts are free with gate admission.
Find all of your lovable critters in the Red Barn this year. Baa with the sheep, neigh with the horses, and moo with the cows for the complete experience. For the dog lovers, EX-treme Dogs returns to the carnival this year with more agility tricks up their paws. Can’t get enough of the dogs? Visit the Pet Centre to meet the different breeds.
Have you ever wanted to break into song and dance in the middle of the street? The Ex has you covered this year with the Strolling Piano. Keep an eye out as the piano meanders through the exhibition grounds until settling on the spot for a spontaneous sing-a-long. Whether you’re a baritone, soprano, or just screaming along from a ride on the sidelines, the entire exhibition grounds are your stage.
Wander down the Expressway for all the classic carnival favourites: caramel apples, cotton candy and corndogs. Stop by the food trucks and vendors to check out vegetarian and gluten-free options or pack your own snacks for the day and kick back with the family at one of the many picnic locations throughout the park. Don’t miss out on free pancake breakfasts on Sunday, June 16 and Sunday, June 23 from 11 a.m. until noon.
The Rescue Station at Prairie Town Adventures debuts an antique pumper fire truck from 1972. See the fire truck, learn about fire safety and complete tasks around the rescue station to earn a free firefighter’s hat.
See local talent thrive at the Starbound Talent Show on Sunday, June 23 at 6.pm. at the Main Stage as youth compete for a chance to win $10,000 or see seniors transform into stars on Wednesday, June 19 at the Red Barn stage.
Over at Exhibition Place visitors can check out quilters and their crafts, the Winnipeg Model Boat Club and Vector Garden Trains as they share their beloved hobbies.
Big crowds, blinking lights and the appeal of food trucks can turn the wandering eye into wander feet. The Lost Kids program is back for another year to ensure your child’s safety. Upon entering the Red River Ex grounds, parents can choose to have their children "tagged" with a Lost Kids’ sticker marked with a cellphone number. Should a child become separated from their parent or guardian, the lost child may be taken to the Lost Kid’s Centre located at the East entry gate. The Lost Kids’ management will then call the parent in order to be reunited with their child.
Midway rides are inspected under the set rules of the Province of Manitoba and provincial inspectors visit the park before opening day. Every morning before opening the park, midway staff inspect each ride.
Get lost in the corn maze, learn where food comes from at Prairie Town Farm and hop aboard a vintage tractor. The Manitoba Agricultural Museum from Austin is bringing a big steam engine for a threshing demonstration from Friday, June 14 to Wednesday, June 19.
Walk back in time and over to the north end of the park and see 24 animatronic dinosaurs in action! Listen to the mighty dinos roar and see the swampy or desert-like habitats in which they thrived. Stroll through this interactive exhibit and meet two roaming baby Tyrannosaurus Rexes.