K-Days, formerly known as the Edmonton Exhibition, Klondike Days, and the 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.
2010 fair grounds
|Dates||10 days, ending|
last weekend of July
|Location(s)||Edmonton Expo Centre, Edmonton, Alberta|
816,250 (2017; record)
The exhibition is held at the grounds of Edmonton Expo Centre. 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.
The fair was originally 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.
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. Calgary and Saskatoon soon started their own exhibitions in 1886 with Regina following in 1894. 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). By 1904, the exhibition's attendance exceeded 20,000 (5,200 on opening day).
The fair was relocated to its current site in Northlands (now named Edmonton Expo Centre) 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 totalled over $100 million.
- Cook, Dustin (July 30, 2018). "'We want to become Alberta's fair': Crowds come close to last year's record-breaking number". edmontonjournal.com. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- Mertz, Emily (July 31, 2017). "K-Days attendance soars despite 'curve ball' from Mother Nature". Globanews.ca. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
- "K-Days | July 19-28, 2019". Retrieved 2019-04-08.
- "What's in a name? Capital EX less popular than Klondike Days". CBC News. July 31, 2006. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- 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". Archived from the original on August 20, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
- "K-Days picked to replace Capital Ex". CBC News. July 29, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
- Maimann, Kevin (July 29, 2013). "Edmonton K-Days brings back Klondike theme for final day". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- ""General Information - Fair History" klondikedays.com". Archived from the original on February 8, 2005. Retrieved April 7, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) February 5, 2005. Retrieved from Internet Archive on July 15, 2010.
- Sarkonak, Jamie (July 29, 2018). "'Not just the grounds': K-Days of the '70s remembered for when it was citywide". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- "Capital EX attendance up". Edmonton Sun. August 2, 2010. Archived from the original on August 6, 2010. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
- "Capital EX attendance confidential". Edmonton Journal. July 28, 2008. Archived from the original on July 27, 2009. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "Capital EX attendance figures released". Edmonton Journal. July 30, 2008. Archived from the original on July 28, 2009. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- "Capital EX attendance down from last year". Edmonton Journal. July 27, 2009. Archived from the original on July 30, 2009. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
- "Capital EX attendance up, but doesn't eclipse K-Days". Edmonton Sun. July 30, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- Bartko, Karen (July 27, 2015). "K-Days 2015 attendance highest in 10 years". Global News. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- "K-Days attendance up over last year despite weather 'curve ball'". Edmonton Journal. July 31, 2017. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- Cook, Dustin (May 4, 2018). "Soaring numbers at K-Days Tuesday after slow weekend start". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- Cook, Dustin (July 30, 2018). "'We want to become Alberta's fair': Crowds come close to last year's record-breaking number". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
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