'Major announcement' on future of Northlands and its festivals to be made Thursday morning

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A “major announcement” on the future of Northlands and its two annual events is expected Thursday morning.

Northlands, the City of Edmonton and Explore Edmonton Corporation — the city’s tourism and venue management branch — will be addressing the media at the Expo Centre at 10 a.m. about the future of K-Days and Farmfair International.

This announcement comes just more than a week after Northlands cancelled its summer K-Days festival for the second year in a row as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The future of the agricultural non-profit has been up in the air since the city took back control of the Exhibition Lands site, formerly Northlands, in 2017. The organization moved off the site following closure of the Coliseum, the race track and casino.

In May 2020, then-interim city manager Adam Laughlin said the city was in discussions to become more involved in running the annual Northlands events through Explore Edmonton to provide more financial assistance to the struggling organization.

A planned transit-oriented development on the site will also impact future iterations of the events once construction begins. Currently, Northlands has an agreement with the city to host its events until at least 2022 with an option to extend for another five years. Negotiations were scheduled to take place at the end of 2020.

More to come.



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