Lobster Carnival committee looking for new partners

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Receiving an honourable mention from the judges was the entry from Halloween Central. Complete with a hearse and scary characters, this entry in the Summerside Lobster Carnival parade was a crowd favourite.

SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Lobster Carnival is looking for new partners to help stage the annual event.

The carnival is organized by the Summerside Rotary Club and Summerside Legion, but during the host committee’s annual general meeting, Monday night, representatives from both groups said they can’t do it alone any longer.

Profits from the carnival are split between the Legion and Rotary for their programs and although this year’s carnival was rated a success by many who attended, the event only raised a total of $11,749.59.

“We do have to look at look at the status of our co-owners, the Legion and Rotary, because it has been getting more difficult to get volunteers every year,” said Lobster Carnival president Arthur Davies.

Carnival secretary treasurer Carletta Tornhill said the Legion has been struggling to get the volunteers needed to handle events they had committed to.

“There was a little bit of discouragement because of the effort put in by both partners with very little coming back in the way of funding,” she said. “There was some conservation where they were at the point of saying we’re ready to withdraw. However, after some discussion at our general meeting, they decided they would come to this meeting (Lobster Carnival AGM) and hopefully be able to stay in with some changes.”

George Lyle, representing Rotary, suggested the possibility of getting more partners to help, lighten the load.

One group that was proposed was the Summerside Fire Department. It was noted that the firefighters have a built-in organization that gets involved in many initiatives within the community.

Another was the YMCA because it has expressed an interest in getting involved in community activities.

Davies said in 2008 there was a report compiled about the lobster carnival, suggesting it involve many different partners; making the event a community effort.

“I don’t think anything was done with that,” he said. “Certainly, that is one of the ways we’d like to go. We’d like to open it up and make this truly what it is. This is a Summerside event. It’s for local businesses and community groups to be involved.”

As for Lobster Carnival 2012, Davies said it was a success but as with every carnival some events work well and others not so well.

The parade was touted as one of the best on record, he acknowledged, and the revamped celebrity dinner, renamed dinner with an icon, was also popular.

Davies did say the dinner was a bit longer in time that it should have been, but that is something that can easily be corrected.

An event that seemed to lose popularity was the S.O.S. Cardboard Boat Challenge.

Davies said there were fewer entries this year but the carnival organizing committee worked with Generation XX to construct six cardboard boats that groups could enter into the competition.

He said work would be done to bring that event back to its popular stature.

For next year, the committee will be looking back on the 57 years of Lobster Carnival and will try to incorporate events from each decade for the 2013 event.

Davies said these new events would be coupled with the popular activities already in place to offer a wider variety of entertainment to a larger audience.

Planning for next year’s lobster carnival is already underway.

mcarson@journalpioneer

Organizations: Carnival committee, Summerside Rotary Club, Summerside Fire Department YMCA

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  • Barbara
    October 23, 2012 - 20:15

    The question might be asked why should the Carnival itself be a profit making activity.? Why not organize it in a way that the Carnival is a non-profit organization (co-operativw) with the various organizations that might be partners responsible for certain events - and earn the profits from those events. Where is the lobster theme running through the entire event - instead of cardboard boats, why not lobster boats - perhaps even having two classes - one paddle for the kids and one propelled by green energy. for the adults - but they must look like lobsters. How about lobster cooking competitions - soups, appetizers, mains? An arts and crafts exhibition with the theme of "under the sea". Races and games for the kids - prizes to be lobster themed - lobster coffee mugs, key chairs, plates... The games could be run by the YMCA, the cooking competitions by a one of the service organizations with a chef as a judge...time to free the creative minds and have a vision of where this festival could go. Volunteers will come when the vision is clear.