So, K-Days is back! That should settle all the problems that have beset the ex-Capital Ex.
Well, not quite.
The public has spoken, and K-Days is back as the name for the Edmonton exhibition. Personally, I think it is one of the least inspired name changes ever, since the K doesn’t represent anything in particular. It’s not Klondike, it’s just a K. This should make for an interesting marketing challenge for Edmonton boosters.
I think it’s a stupid name, to be honest. But there are apparently enough old people with access to computers that K-Days was the runaway winner.
But the name really isn’t relevant. Whether it’s Capital Ex or the Edmonton Summer Exhibition for K-Days or the Watch Your Wallet Festival, it makes no difference.
Capital Ex or K-Days, it’s still an event without a reason for being. Back in the day that Edmonton oldsters remember with nostalgic haze, Klondike Days was the Big Show. And it wasn’t just the Big Show, it was the Only Show. The parade, the promenade (downtown streets closed off for a very modest party), the bathtub races downtown, marching bands, the Sourdough raft race, and the ‘ex’ itself. It was a party, and it was unsophisticated family fun.
Once K-Days was over, that was it. There was no Heritage Festival, no Folk Fest, no Fringe, no Jazz Fest, no Taste of Edmonton, nothing. There was no space and science centre, no West Edmonton Mall. No video games, no computers. K-Days thrived not just because it was the only game in town, but that was a big part of it.
The exhibition, which used to have a city-wide presence, is now just the events at Northlands, and it is really nothing more than a huge moneymaker. And that’s fine; it is what it is. I have zero interest in going to the ex under any name, but then I’m hardly its intended audience. (When I was a kid, I loved rides. Now that I get vertigo if I go up a stepladder, rides have no appeal to me.) Northlands should be pleased at whatever their attendance figures were. With so much else to do in a very active summer city, and with the weather being wildly erratic during the fair, they should be happy.
Call it K-Days or whatever, but it’s never going to be what it was. Times change, the ex doesn’t.