2010 fair grounds
|Dates||10 days, ending
last weekend of July
|Location(s)||Northlands, Edmonton, Alberta
810,503 (record – 2005)
K-Days, formerly known as Klondike Days and Edmonton's Capital Ex, is an annual 10-day exhibition held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, usually near the end of July. In recent years it has attracted between 700,000 and 800,000 visitors each year. It runs in conjunction with A Taste of Edmonton and – from 2006 through 2012 – the Edmonton Indy.
The Edmonton Agricultural Society organized the first local exhibition on the original Fort Edmonton site on October 15, 1879. This was the first event of its kind held in what was then known as the North-West Territories. Edmonton's first fair showcased locally produced livestock, grain, vegetables, and handiwork and attracted 500 people. In 1893, the organization held the city's first spring exhibition, and in 1899, the exhibition grounds were relocated to Rossdale Flats (now Edmonton Ballpark). The first parade to promote the fair was held in 1903. The fair did not organize a community parade in the 1930s and 1940s.
By 1904, the exhibition's attendance exceeded 20,000 (5,200 on opening day). It was relocated to its current site in Northlands in 1910. In 1912, it was extended to six days. It continued to be held through the First World War, even though the facilities were at the disposal of the Canadian Army. A similar arrangement was made during the Second World War, though this time with the Royal Canadian Air Force.
The exhibition was renamed "Klondike Days" in 1962, with the theme revolving around the Klondike Gold Rush. The public embraced the theme with relish, dressing up in period costumes for the Klondike Days opening parade.
In 2004, Northlands Park celebrated the 125th anniversary of the fair. The Klondike Days Parade's theme commemorated the City of Edmonton's 100th anniversary in that year. Fair attendance continued to climb, breaking the 800,000 attendance mark in 2005. However, in 2006, attendance fell to 688,369, coinciding with the year that the name of the exhibition was changed to "Capital EX". The change was met with both protest and excitement from citizens. Some felt a name change was unnecessary, while others felt it was time to drop "traditional themes" citing that there was no longer an interest in dressing up in Klondike-themed clothing during the week-long exhibition.
Northlands decided not to release the 2008 attendance numbers due to an agreement with the Indy Racing League. However, Northlands changed its decision and released the attendance figures showing a total of 743,374 attendees, a drop of almost 30,000 from the previous year. In 2009 the attendance dropped again, by more than 25,000, to a total of 717,966, but rebounded again by 4% in 2010 to 747,660. In 2014, 740,840 people attended K-Days and sales totaled over $100 Million.
The fair was named the Edmonton Exhibition from its founding in 1879 until 1964, when it was renamed Klondike Days. The name change coincided with the introduction of the kitsch theme associated with the 1890s and the Klondike Gold Rush. The gold rush had taken place several hundreds of miles to the northwest. Edmonton was a stopping point for prospectors headed to the Yukon Territory on the "all-Canadian overland route".
The name was changed to Capital Ex, in 2006. There was some controversy over the change in name from Klondike Days, with many locals continuing to refer to the exhibition as Klondike Days or K-Days.
Ken Knowles, President of Northlands, explained that the rebranding “... was so much more than a name. It was about the programming and the opportunity to showcase the best of the region and the province”. The name change was recognized at the 2007 Alberta Tourism Awards, where Knowles stated “This recognition from the tourism industry is particularly gratifying as it reinforces our ongoing efforts through Capital Ex to continue to celebrate our province and to build Alberta pride.”
Before the 2012 event, Northlands announced that the Capital Ex name would be retired, and a new name would be chosen by public vote. Event goers chose K-Days from the six names offered. The new name for the fair was announced on July 29, 2012. The original Klondike Days name was not one of the six options available.
Some fans of the event's previous name, Klondike Days, have stated that the name change to Capital Ex was a poor decision due to the region's history. Many feel that the event being renamed back to K-Days, by the overwhelming majority of the vote, shows just how much of a mistake the initial name change was.
K-Days begins five days after the Calgary Stampede, (until 2009, it began four days after), making it end on the Sunday of July's last weekend.
- 2008: Thursday, July 17 to Saturday, July 26
- 2009: Friday, July 17 to Sunday, July 26
- 2010: Friday, July 23 to Sunday, August 1
- 2011: Friday, July 22 to Sunday, July 31
- 2012: Friday, July 20 to Sunday, July 29
- 2013: Friday, July 19 to Sunday, July 28
- 2014: Friday, July 18 to Sunday, July 27
- 2015: Friday, July 17 to Sunday, July 26
- 2016: Friday, July 22 to Sunday, July 31
- 2017: Friday, July 21 to Sunday, July 30
- "Attendance at K-Days up, but not all Alberta festivals faring so well". Edmonton Sun.com. August 1, 2016. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
- "General Information - Fair History" klondikedays.com at the Wayback Machine (archived February 8, 2005) February 5, 2005. Retrieved from Internet Archive on July 15, 2010.
- "Capital EX attendance up". Edmonton Sun. August 2, 2010. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- CBC.ca What's in a name? Capital EX less popular than Klondike Days – July 31, 2006
- "Capital EX attendance confidential". Edmonton Journal. 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
- "Capital EX attendance figures released". Edmonton Journal. 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
- "Capital EX attendance down from last year". Edmonton Journal. 2009-07-27. Archived from the original on 2009-07-30. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
- Travel Alberta 2007 Alberta Tourism Awards Announced – October 29, 2007.
- "Northlands shortlists 6 new names for Capital EX". CBC News. July 9, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- "Capital EX — Name Your Fair". Retrieved July 29, 2012.
- "K-Days picked to replace Capital Ex". CBC News. July 29, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
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