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After slow start, K-Days expecting attendance boom through final weekend

The K-Days midway on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Jesse Beyer, Global News

After a slow opening weekend because of less than ideal weather, K-Days is hopeful the hot weather will lead to a boost in attendance for the last few days of the festival.

“Right now we’re trending behind pace but obviously I think we’ve got the bad weather out of the way and we’re looking forward to a great close to the fair,” Northlands president and CEO Tim Reid said Wednesday.

Reid said Friday’s parade was well attended, but attendance over the weekend and on Monday wasn’t as high in previous years.

“Monday, particularly, was one of the most challenging days that we’ve had,” he said.

However, attendance has been growing. Thanks in part to a $2 admission promotion – and a hot, sunny day – Tuesday was one of the most well-attended days the festival has seen in years. Just shy of 100,000 people passed through the fair grounds.

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“For a mid-week day, it was one of the strongest days that we’ve had in a the last decade,” Reid said. “It was up there with what we would expect to see on a gorgeous Friday or a fantastic Saturday or Sunday.”

READ MORE: Canadian bacon pickle balls, jalapeno lemonade among new K-Days midway food

Reid said adding the rodeo to this year’s festival also proved successful, as it exceeded their attendance targets. The three-day rodeo was held over the opening weekend.

“The rodeo was fantastic,” he said. “Great competition, really Canadian Finals calibre. Every bit as good, if not better.

“We estimate about 30 per cent of everybody that attended it had just never seen a rodeo before. So it did what it wanted to do, which was really create some connectivity between ourselves and our western culture, introduce people to a sport that maybe they don’t get to see very often.”

READ MORE: K-Days poll: Your favourite floats, rides and midway food!

Heading into the last four days of the festival, K-Days organizers are preparing for big crowds. But with plenty of heat and sunshine in the forecast, they’re also warning festival-goers to stay safe.

“Do make sure you drink lots of water, you hydrate often and take advantage of rest spaces and getting out of the sun from time to time because it’s a hot one. It’s perfect for K-Days.”

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READ MORE: Heat warning in place for Edmonton, much of eastern Alberta

Reid said people are allowed to bring water bottles with them if they don’t want to buy bottled water. There are a few water stations throughout the midway and water fountains inside the Expo Centre, he added.

Reid also encouraged people to take advantage of the shade and misting stations throughout the grounds.

K-Days runs until Sunday.

Watch below: The 2017 K-Days parade makes its way through downtown Edmonton