It’s been three years since one of Edmonton’s biggest summer festivals has operated in the city and organizers are gearing up for a busy 10 days of fun.
The gates to K-Days opened at noon Friday, to a long lineup of people waiting to get in.
“We’re really optimistic about K-Days — not just in terms of the programming, but the attendance,” said Explore Edmonton CEO Traci Bednard. “I know people have really missed K-Days.”
The 10-day festival runs until July 31 at the Edmonton Exhibition Lands.
“I can’t believe it’s been three years since we last hosted a K-Days,” said Arlindo Gomes, Explore Edmonton vice president.
Gomes said festival-goers can expect all the classic entertainment they’ve come to expect from K-Days like midway rides and games, SuperDogs, music and nightly fireworks.
There are also some new offerings like the three-year partnership with the Indigenous Edmonton Entertainment Group Association (IEEGA) to create a platform for high-profile Indigenous events and entertainment.
“We have the reconciliation boards on display, we have Elders doing workshops and teachings,” said Dallas Arcand, who is with the association. “We are part of the fabric of this territory and now it’s time for us to share our voices and be heard.”
It wouldn’t be a midway without some new menu items. There are nearly 40 new food items for people to try, including cotton candy noodles, Flamin’ Cheeto fries, mac ‘n cheese soft serve, Mini Donut corndogs and pickle cotton candy.
“I’m looking forward to the mini doughnuts,” said midway enthusiast Leanne Huebschwerlen, who brought her son Kailum. “I like the pizza on a stick. Maybe a hotdog,” they said.
“I encourage people to come in and really take in what the festival has to offer. All the traditional things, all the fair foods — which some people just love — all the rides,” Gomes said.
“There’s a lot of nostalgia with an event like this and a lot of great memories that are built. I think, to me, it’s a way to bring communities together, bring families together and we just provide that kind of enjoyment.”
In hopes of getting more people through the gates, Explore Edmonton has dropped the entry prices this year.
General admission for adults 18 to 59 is $18, those seven to 17 and 60 and older will pay $12 and kids six and under are free.
“I did notice the costs go down a little bit and I think that’s really nice they made it more affordable for everybody,” Huebschwerlen said.
K-Days also offers a family pack, which includes two adult and two youth admissions, for $45. A 10-day general admission pass is $33.
“We’re doing all we can to make sure this is an event that all Edmontonians can take part in,” Gomes said.
“There’s so much pressure on everyone, families, prices really go up. So we really took a hard look at what our prices were and worked really hard to reduce them.”
Gomes said Explore Edmonton has hired over 600 new staff for the event. K-Days run daily from noon to midnight until July 31.
More information on tickets and the entertainment lineup can be found on the K-Days website.