K-Day’s – Edmonton, Alberta


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 exhibition is held at Northlands (formerly Northlands Park), south of Rexall Place.

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 Telus Field). The first parade to promote the fair was held in 1903. The fair did not organize a community parade in the 1930s and 1940s.[2]

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.[2]

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.[3] However, in 2006, attendance fell to 688,369, coinciding with the year that the name of the exhibition was changed to “Capital EX”.[4] 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.

Tell us about your day at the fair!