Annual K-Days parade cancelled due in part to 'fiscal realities'

The annual K-Days parade has been cancelled. Northlands announced the move Friday afternoon citing declining attendance and "current fiscal realities."

'We must listen to our guests, who have told us ... they want to see us invest in onsite programming'

More than 100 entries participated in the K-Days parade last year. Northlands announced Friday that it cancelled the annual parade in downtown Edmonton. (Manuel Carrillos/CBC)

The annual K-Days parade has been cancelled. 

Northlands announced the move Friday afternoon citing declining attendance and "current fiscal realities." 

Peter Male, president and CEO of Northlands, said the parade cost about $160,000. 

"After exploring all options and much discussion, we must listen to our guests who have told us very clearly that they want to see us invest in onsite programming,"

Male said Northlands based its decision, in part, on a survey done last year in which respondents indicated they're looking for more contemporary events involving art, entertainment, technology and digital media. 

Still, he said the parade is a traditional part of the festival, which some have a strong emotional attachment to and it wasn't an easy decision to cancel it. 

"It was a very painful and difficult decision to make," he told CBC News. "So when you look at making these types of decisions because of the world that we live in today they're very difficult decisions to make.

The province reduced its grant to Northlands for K-Days and Farm Fair International, from $4.5 million to $3 million this year, but Male said the reduction wasn't a factor in the parade's cancellation. 

"That had absolutely no impact on the decision on the parade, that was more of an operational decision," Male assured. 

Male thanked the efforts of volunteers who worked on the annual parade.

The longtime event drew thousands to downtown Edmonton and served as the official kick-off to the 10-day summer festival at Northlands.

This year's K-Days is set for July 17-26.


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