Edmonton Festivals

July 20, 2018 7:13 pm
Updated: July 20, 2018 9:16 pm

Edmonton mayor, Northlands CEO weigh in on future of K-Days

WATCH ABOVE: K-Days is now officially underway, but what does the future hold for K-Days as the city redevelops the exhibition lands? Julia Wong reports.

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The gates of K-Days have been thrown open for the summer, but there are questions about the popular summer festival and its long-term future.

The city and Northlands are in year one of a five-year agreement that will see K-Days staged at the Edmonton Exhibition Lands; the contract could be extended at the end of five years.

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READ MORE: This K-Days is the 1st of 5 under new land contract with City of Edmonton

“I think we’d be really challenged to find a different site that does what the Northlands site does for us today,” Mayor Don Iveson said.

“I don’t see any imminent changes. We’ll cross those bridges as we come to it.”

That sentiment was echoed by Kevin Gunderman, interim president and CEO of Northlands.

“It’s going to continue in our eyes,” he said.

“It’s obviously us negotiating with the city. K-Days is such a critical part of this city, along with Farm Fair International, that we see it continuing.”

RELATED: 2018 K-Days Parade makes its way through downtown Edmonton

There were mixed reviews from K-Days attendees about whether the festival should stay put or move elsewhere in the city.

“I’d like to see K-Days stay here,” said Alan McMahon, who has been attending the summer festival with his family for three years.

“I think it’s a central part of the city and it brings people together.”

Victoria Deis grew up going to K-Days and is now bringing her children to the event.

“I feel like, as something I grew up with, it would be different if the location changed. I would love for it to stay here,” she said.

But others seemed more willing to adapt if need be.

“If they moved, I would still go,” said Landon Halvorson, who attends K-Days every year.

“It wouldn’t matter where they put it. That would be absolutely fine as long as they had the space.”

READ MORE: Northlands Coliseum’s neighbours want more input on plan for exhibition lands

However, changes to the surrounding area are imminent. The Coliseum is shut down and could soon be demolished, the race track is coming to an end and the city is redeveloping the exhibition lands, leading to questions about how K-Days may be affected.

“We will find a way as we have for the last 139 years. Things change,” Gunderman said.

“If we lose a bit of space here and there, we’ll find ways to adapt.”

READ MORE: Ideas pour in for the development of Edmonton’s Exhibition Lands

Iveson said the city is looking closely at what will be part of the redevelopment planning.

“What the needs would be for maintaining an open site to host not just K-Days but all kinds of other important outdoor events,” he said.

“We need sites to host those close to LRT, close to the convention centre. It makes a lot of sense to continue to accommodate large events on that site.”

K-Days runs until July 30.

Watch below: The 2018 K-Days Parade makes its way through downtown Edmonton

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