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What to See, Eat and Do at the 2018 CNE

Our guide to the sights, snacks and scene at this classic summer event—including the CAA booths, where you could win free gas for a year

Two small sliders loaded with garnish on a tray surrounded by fries and onion rings

Whether you’re visiting the Canadian National Exhibition (on in Toronto from August 17 to September 3) for deep-fried deliciousness, a pulse-raising midway ride or to savour the last of the summer weather, here’s what to put on your list.

See: The Legends of the Silk Road indoor lantern festival

Marvel at 17 giant sculptures illuminated from within. Larger-than-life figures based on stories and myths from the Silk Road were built in China using steel skeletons and synthetic silk. They’ll be switched on throughout the CNE in the Enercare Centre.

See: Maritime-inspired food and fun at the East Coast Kitchen Party

Dive right in on the CNE’s opening weekend at this celebration of East Coast tastes and tunes, back at the fair for its second year. Kids can watch the oyster shucking (and maybe even try slurping one down), grown-ups will want to stick around for the Caesar competition, and the whole family can enjoy lively musical performances just outside the Enercare Centre.

Eat: A decadent burger worth more than your CNE admission

Trying the Golden Burger can only be described as treating yourself. First, the cooks at Bacon Nation fry up a five-ounce beef patty, then they top it with two kinds of bacon, cheddar, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato, chipotle mayo and onion rings. The crowning touch? A bun covered in edible golf leaf.

Eat: A s’more fried chicken sandwich that’s two favourites in one

The ultimate sweet and salty snack, this sammy by Heartbreak Chef slathers a hunk of southern-style fried chicken in roasted marshmallows, graham cookie crumbs and milk chocolate, then puts it all on a chocolate-dipped brioche bun.

The CNE midway with bright colourful lights at night 

Do: Dance to music only you can hear at the Silent Disco

The Silent Disco trend comes to the CNE for the first time on August 27. Grab a pair of wireless headphones from a stack of 300 that will be available on Princes’ Boulevard on a first-come, first-served basis. Then, tune in to one of the two DJs who will be broadcasting to the headphones and start grooving like you don’t care that no one else can hear the music.

Do: Enter for the chance to win free gas

Visitors to the CAA booths at Dufferin Gates and Princes’ Gates can test their knowledge with a fun trivia game covering CAA’s 115 years and the CNE. Everyone who plays will receive a CAA 115 foldable tote bag and be entered for a chance to win the grand prize of free gas for a year.

Check out the digital leaderboard at the booths for the top 10 scores. At the end of each day, the person at the top of the leaderboard will receive a $115 CAA gift card.

Not a CAA Member? Take advantage of the exclusive CNE Membership offer of two CAA Basic Memberships for $99 plus HST and a $10 fuel gift card.

Looking for more thrilling end-of-summer activities?

These escape rooms will get your heart pounding and these amazing food trucks will have you salivating.

Plus, the Toronto International Film Festival is coming up! Check out our top 10 ways to make the most of TIFF.

Image credit: Courtesy of the CNE