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K-Days midway ride

Is K-Days 2024 Worth Your Time? Here’s What to Expect

Has Edmonton's classic summer festival lost its charm, or is it worth the hype?

Ferris wheels towering against the skyline, the aroma of mini donuts wafting through the air, the hum of a bustling crowd echoing from every corner of Northlands. 

That’s K-Days — a whirlwind of entertainment that has been a tradition in Edmonton for decades.

Formerly known as Klondike Days, the festival has evolved from its gold rush roots into a gold mine of rides, games, and live music. 

Not everyone is thrilled about the switch that happened in 2012—the sourdough races, the community pancake breakfast, the promenades, parades, and seeing everyone dress up in late 1800s regalia were a blast from the past that many still miss.

However, the new version has some perks worth checking out. Primarily, the rides and opportunity to see concerts for $15 a pop or $30 as a 10 for 1 package deal lend an appeal, especially to the pocketbook!

(To be fair, pancake breakfast is still a thing, if not the highlight it once was.)

And no one is stopping you from dressing up in Klondike fashion!

Part of the appeal of Klondike Days was that you got to dress up in awesome costumes-- a tradition that K-Days lacks
Part of the appeal of Klondike Days was that you got to dress up in awesome costumes– a tradition that K-Days lacks | Provincial Archives of Alberta

The Rides and The Tunes

If you’re a K-Day veteran, you know the drill — Northlands transforms into a playground with dizzying roller coasters, delicious eats, and games that challenge your skills (and luck). 

For adrenaline junkies, the lineup of carnival rides is the main attraction.

This year, expect old favourites like the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Zipper, plus new additions that claim to knock your socks clean off.

The music lineup is full of big names that’ll keep you singing along with fellow festival-goers well into the night.

Kicking it off on July 19th, we’ve got Amanda Marshall, followed by Theory Of A Deadman on July 20th, K’NANN on the 21st, Metric on the 22nd, Down With Webster on the 23rd, Simple Plan on the 24th, Death From Above 1979 on the 25th, Ja Rule on the 26th, High Valley on the 27th, and finally Ludacris wrapping it up on the 28th!

The music will surely transform the Edmonton EXPO Centre into a party
The music will surely transform the Edmonton EXPO Centre into a party |

Beyond Mosh Pits

K-days also has options for those more into strolling than dancing the night away.

The city’s spirit is displayed daily, with artisans showcasing their crafts and local artists playing live music. 

However, in recent years, there has been more emphasis on overpriced dollar store plushies and drop-ship products—but maybe they’ve finally gotten the memo that people want to see local stuff.

The Market Hall claims to feature heritage vendors this year, and its Pop-up schedule promises everything from farmers’ markets and Indigenous vendors to vintage shopping.

And, of course, once you’re ready for a break, visiting K-Days wouldn’t be complete without sampling the carnival foods that make up the festival. 

While most of the food is blatantly overpriced, there is something nostalgic about fair food that keeps us using our pocket change.

Indulge in classics like cotton candy and corn dogs, or expand your palate with gourmet food trucks offering everything from artisanal burgers to international cuisine. And don’t miss out on the mini donuts—a K-Day staple that’s as irresistible as iconic.

Mini-donuts at K-Days are worth the trip!
Mini-donuts at K-Days are worth the trip! |

For Families

For families, there has also been a ton of kid-friendly activities in past years, from petting zoos to interactive shows. 

This year, the site advertises the “KidWay” rides area and the “Discovery Zone.”

The description of that last one is a bit vague, so we’re not entirely sure what families will be “discovering.” Still, if you decide to take the kids, the rides alone should thrill ’em.

Whether K-days has all the charm of its former version is debatable, but it has some perks that can make for a memorable summer day or night.

And if nothing else, it brings out local camaraderie that really makes the city come together—even if that takes the form of communal lamenting about the good old Klondike Days!

So mark your calendars and rally your crew; next week, Edmonton’s classic festival is back (“better than ever” is up to you to decide!)

C’mon, what kid (or adult) could resist the elephant ride?
C’mon, what kid (or adult) could resist the elephant ride? |

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