July 29, 2019 4:49 pm
Updated: July 30, 2019 6:33 pm

Weather to blame for lowest K-Days attendance since 2006, Northlands says

WATCH ABOVE: In the future, where will people go if the traditional home for Edmonton's K-Days must make way for redevelopment? Vinesh Pratap takes a look.


One of Edmonton’s largest summer festivals has wrapped up for another year. Sunday night marked the end of the 2019 K-Days festival, with more than 700,000 people taking part in the 10-day fair.

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This year’s attendance took a pretty big hit, due to extreme weather on a number of key days, according to Northlands president and CEO Peter Male. This summer, 702,327 people attended K-Days, down from 808,009 in 2018 and 816,250 in 2017.

In fact, this year’s attendance at K-Days was the lowest it’s been since 2006.

“In all honesty, it really is the weather,” Male said.

“It was a tough fair for us. If you look at the weather last year compared to this year, there were little showers last year. But this year we had four major weather days, which many events have faced in the city of Edmonton in the last little while.”

LISTEN BELOW: Peter Male joins the 630 CHED Afternoon News to talk about the future of Northlands and aK-Days

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READ MORE: Monday Morning Magic lets kids with special needs take over K-Days midway

Male said it’s typical to budget for two to three days of rain during a 10-day event such as K-Days, then you hope they don’t happen on key days.

“Unfortunately, two of our traditionally biggest days — the opening Friday and our largest day, the final Saturday — were deeply affected by extreme wind, rain and thunderstorms this year,” Male said.

“You build the best event you can and sometimes you hit a great weather run, and sometimes weather hits you. This year at K-Days it was the latter.

“The Saturday rain out was really difficult on us.”

READ MORE: Edmonton festivals ditch beer gardens and loosen restrictions on where alcohol can be consumed

Northlands said this year’s concert line-up, which included The Offspring, Aqua and Kip Moore, helped draw in crowds. The special experience tickets for both The Offspring and Aqua concerts were sold out, Male said.

LISTEN BELOW: Global News weather specialist Phil Darlington joins the Ryan Jespersen show to talk about Edmonton’s sopping summer

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This year also saw an attempt to break a Guinness World Record, with hundreds of people gathering to try to top the record books for the largest performance of the Baby Shark dance.

Watch below: People attempt to break a Guinness World Record by dancing to Baby Shark

Here’s a closer look at K-Days 2019, by the numbers:

1.1 million – midway rides enjoyed

158,512 – teddy bears won

38,000+ – Bags of mini donuts sold

35,000+ – Butter Beer Ice Cream sold

15,000+ – Slushes sold

9,000+ – Corn dogs sold

8,000+ – Candy apples sold

5,000 – Items returned to the lost and found

2,000 – Animals on display at K-Days

903 – K-Days volunteers

737 – Staff members

357 – Vehicles and tractor trailers to move the show

1 – Wish granted by Make a Wish Foundation

READ MORE: The heart and soul of K-Days: More than 900 volunteers bring this year’s exhibition to life

With redevelopment slated at what’s now known as the Edmonton Exhibition Lands, K-Days will eventually have to find a new home. Male said no matter what, the fair will go on.

“Whatever changes, this fair has been here for 140 years. It is not going away,” he said Monday.

“These are amazing events. They have huge social and economic impact and they’re very close to people’s hearts and traditions. So they go on and they will continue to go on. So we will go on and we will work with people and if change presents itself, we will just adapt to that change and continue to move forward.”

Planning is already underway for K-Days 2020, which Male promises will include “an exciting new program across exhibits, entertainment and overall look and feel of the event.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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