For the last two years, Langley teen Keely Knight has had to spend her birthday working.
But she isn’t complaining. When her job is entertaining children at the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), working on a birthday is actually very special.
“It’s enjoyable, I always have a great time. So it’s not a bad way to spend a birthday,” said Knight, who turns 19 at the end of August.
“The PNE is always one of my favourite parts of summer because I’m getting to dance full time. I love dancing so there’s nothing better than that.”
The Fair at the PNE returns to Vancouver’s Hastings Park Aug. 18 to Sept. 3 with a line up of unique shows, rides, food offerings and agricultural events.
Knight, who calls Willoughby home, is one of several dancers performing in the Action Austin children’s show at the Toon City Stage.
This will be the third year she is participating, having danced in Action Austin last year, and the PNE parade the year before.
Action Austin is a 30 minute safari adventure that follows Action Austin and his friends as they search for the missing pink star diamond. It will be performed three times a day, and kids are invited to meet and take photos with the dancers after each show.
Performing in a festival setting is much different that the dark theatre venues Knight is used to.
“It’s very different because you can see everyone’s faces and you can see their reactions,” she said.
“It’s nice because you can tell that they are enjoying themselves, and it helps you enjoy yourself more when you’re performing. I always have a lot of fun, and because there’s a lot of kids who come to watch, it’s always exciting to see how they are to watch us.”
Knight has been dancing for the last 11 years out of Extreme Cheer and Dance in Langley. After graduating from Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary in Cloverdale last year, she is now continuing her dance at Harbour Dance Centre in Vancouver, and is pursuing general studies at Simon Fraser University.
For Knight — who dances jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, tap, acro, musical theatre and song and dance — there is nothing more exciting than being on stage.
“Musical theatre is definitely my favourite because it’s — you still have to have good technique and everything — but it’s more about the performance than the actual technical aspect,” she said.
“Even the show we do in the PNE is more of a musical theatre piece and I find it’s the most fun thing to do for me.”
The PNE will run daily from 11 a.m. until late (closed Aug. 20 and 27). Tickets are available for purchase online, in person at the gate, or at 7-Eleven, Safeway, Save on Foods, Pricesmart foods and Ubran Fare. For more details, including ways to save on gate admission, visit www.pne.ca.