SUMMERSIDE - The Summerside Lobster Carnival has grown to the point where other events, artists and musicians are looking to get involved, says carnival president Rev. Arthur Davies.
Davies told members of the Summerside Rotary Club Tuesday, that in the past the organizing committee had to solicit participants for the annual festival but now people are coming to them with events.
“Carnival shows people what Summerside is all about,” Davies said. “It shows the heart of Summerside. It shows a sense of community. It shows the sense of caring and sharing for one another and it opens the door to visitors in a way that’s like nothing else.”
Throughout the weeklong event an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 take part in lobster carnival.
“People have started to come to us and say that we would like to be involved in your carnival,” he said. “We’re not going around soliciting, other people are coming around saying can we be involved? We have a whole bunch of emails from different artists and musicians saying we’ve heard about the lobster carnival. Can we come and sing and play and be part of that. There are people out there who have never been involved before saying we’ve heard enough about you. We want to be part of what’s going on.”
One such event is a 4-H judging show, normally held in Charlottetown that is looking to be a part of the lobster carnival.
“They said we would like to bring that down to Summerside,” Davies said. “We’re trying to find out the logistics of things.
Another event is extending Atlanticade to the lobster carnival with events centered around the cyclists.
Davies said last year was a really successful carnival and the committee wants to build on that.
“We’re looking to add a number of new activities, keeping some of the ones that we've had for a number of years but adding to them,” he said. “We wanted to be able to look back and see what it was like in the 50s and have a 50s theme for part of the week also, the 60s, the 70s and 80s and so on. Each decade will be showcased in different ways. So, whatever games and activities you were doing in the 50s, we’re going to do those.
We’re going to have three-legged races and sack races and all those fun races that didn’t cost you a thing and everyone had fun. We’ve got to get back to some of those things and we’ll do that throughout the different decades.”
Other new events include theme picnics “where we can gather together under a tent and just have an old fashion picnic. Sit down, have some music and visit, and kids play and have activities,” he said.
The carnival is also looking at having an Aboriginal Day and a Celtic Day to showcase those cultures.
Storytelling is another plan in the works.
“I don’t have to tell you that Summerside is full of storytellers,” Davies said. “Bring those people, young and old and have them in the different locations, telling stories about Summerside.”
Davies said the search for sponsors continues and the response so far has been positive.
“Everyone is really receptive and we’re asking people for more than we asked of them last year or the year before and no one has said I’m sorry we can’t do that,” he said. “It’s a question of you bring to me what we can get for $5,000 or $10,000 and we’ll make a deal. The idea is to try and get sponsors to look after practically every event.”
Davies wants to get all of the city’s businesses involved in the lobster carnival.
“We either do this together or we don’t do it all,” he said. “This is a Summerside event. It’s not just lobster carnival. This is Summerside at its best showing itself to the wider community saying this is who we are. This is why we live here.”