Tucked away in the Northlands History exhibit is a living, breathing example of Northlands history.
This is Jeannette Brownlee’s 57th year volunteering at K-Days. Travelling from her farm in rural Alberta to Northlands every day to volunteer was a regular part of every July.
Brownlee’s work in the Agriculture Hall through the years makes her most proud.
“That’s the root of when you think of Klondike Days,” Brownlee said. “It’s agriculture.”
After more than half a century volunteering for the exhibition, she’s also developed a passion for doing whatever it takes to bring Edmonton’s biggest and oldest summer festival to life.
“I said, ‘Put me where you need me,'” said Brownlee. “I thought, ‘That’s a good volunteer’s judgement because you know a little bit of everything, or you learn how to do it.'”
Walk around K-Days and you’ll see them everywhere — people in blue golf shirts, aged eight-94, giving up part of their summer to volunteer at the exhibition.
“We’re volunteers… and it’s what we enjoy doing,” said Peggy Dick, currently back for her eighth year.
Peggy says they’ve all got something in common.
“I think that you’ve got to enjoy being around people, you’ve got to enjoy meeting new people too and really having a lot of fun with it,” said Dick.
This year, 903 volunteers ensure critical tasks, like the lost children program, are taken care of.
After 25 years on the team, Marlene Peters helps recruit past volunteers to come back each year.
“I phoned a man who was 96 years old,” said Peters. “And he said to me, ‘You know what dear, I’d love to come but I can’t come this year but phone me next year.'”
“I hope that he was still there,” Peters said with a laugh.
“They’re coming, they’re cheerful and they’re glad to be here like me.”
Watch below: It’s a special day at Edmonton’s K-Days festival. The gates opened early for Monday Morning Magic. Margeaux Maron reports.