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Fair goers ride the Wave Swinger at the PNE in Vancouver August 20, 2011

JOHN LEHMANN/The Globe and Mail

He ruled over 11 million square miles of Eurasia, and geneticists believe that one in 200 people are descendants of the historic Mongolian emperor. Now, artifacts from Genghis Khan's reign are coming to this year's Pacific National Exhibition.

Weapons, clothing, murals and more from the legendary empire will be on display at Genghis Khan: The Exhibition , a major show that has toured through U.S. cities from Atlanta to Chicago, and marks a new experiment for the PNE, which paid nearly a million dollars for the exhibit, and will charge $3 admission for adults. (Kids 13 and under are still free.)

"It's a museum-quality piece that has been landing in natural history museums, and it's going to be something that our traditional fair-goer isn't used to seeing," says Mike McDaniel, president and CEO of the PNE. "So it's pretty exciting."

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Also new at the fair is a beefed-up musical lineup, with artists including Melissa Etheridge, the Jacksons, the Beach Boys, Sam Roberts, Lights and more, playing the larger PNE amphitheatre, which seats 6,500 people. One sixth of the venue will be reserved for "superfans" who can book seats for $15-20.

But the PNE, which attracts more than 750,000 visitors – that's roughly 3,750 Genghis Khan descendants – is still deeply rooted in tradition, and all the favourite attractions have returned, among them the Peking acrobats, the SuperDogs, the RCMP musical ride, the PNE prize home, the Dal Richards Orchestra and the beloved mini-donuts.

"You have great-grandparents and grandparents and parents and kids who grew up going to the fair – and despite the technology of today, people do like gathering and spending time with each other and creating memories," Mr. McDaniel says of the landmark event, which started in 1910. "And that's essentially what this is."

The Pacific National Exhibition runs Aug. 17-Sept. 2, except Mondays (

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