The Lobster Carnival is no more; make way for the Lobster Festival

Mike Carson
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Former carnival takes on new name and new events

SUMMERSIDE – After 58 years, the Summerside Lobster Carnival has a new name, new events and a new direction.

Councillor Tina Mundy, the city’s liaison to the Summerside Lobster Festival, Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart and festival executive director Don Quarles unveil the new logo and name for the former Summerside Lobster Carnival. Mike Carson/Journal Pioneer.


The event has been rebranded the Summerside Lobster Festival and will feature new attractions along with some of the traditional favourites

Don Quarles, executive director of the Summerside Lobster Festival outlined a few of the events set for festival week, July 14-19.

Kicking off with a new and enhanced parade on Monday, July 14, the 2014 Lobster Festival will offer a full week of family fun activities and entertainment, ending on Saturday, July 19. Water Street will also host a beach volleyball tournament and a sidewalk sale. The week will also feature harnesses racing culminating with the Governor’s Plate.

That same week the Boys and Girls Club of Summerside will be hosting its celebrity golf tournament and celebrity dinner.

“We’re very excited to be partnering with them on a number of initiatives in regards to those events,” Quarles said. “'Highland' Storm will be in full swing. The Harbourfront Theatre will have a show in full swing as well. There are a number of events that are happening simultaneously that we’re very excited about partnering with as well.”

A Chautauqua tent will be set up on Water Street to be a focal point for downtown events during the festival.

“Water Street will be closed in conjunction with Culture Summerside. It will be closed from Spring Street to Summer Street, creating a pedestrian mall," he said.

P.E.I. entertainment will also be featured in the big Chautauqua tent. Some of the performers will include Tim Chaisson, Ten Strings and a Goat Skin, Theresa Doyle, Meaghan Blanchard and many more.

Councillor Tina Mundy, the city’s liaison to Lobster Festival and a past president of the Lobster Carnival committee, said the stakeholders are creating a future for the festival.

“When I was president back in 2010 it was a real eye-opening experience to see the love sweat and tears that goes into producing the event that has been in the hearts and memories of the residents of Summerside for 55 years,” she said. “It quickly became obvious that although the carnival had many positive events it was indeed a time for change and a time to give a new breath of life to the event.”

Mundy said the event over the years was well run by the service organizations and volunteers who dedicated themselves to making carnival the premier tourism happening for the city.

“We are doubly blessed this year," she said In addition to the new format we also have a new committee of engaged stakeholders to help with the heavy lifting. We’re also very blessed to have a full-time leader in Don at the helm. It took us four years and a city council initiative that would have the city act as a steward to help restore the brand of this yearly anticipated event to what we see here today.”

She said the goal of the move to rebrand lobster carnival is to eventually make it self-sustaining.

Mayor Basil Stewart sees the city ownership of the Lobster Festival as a positive move.

 “Times have changed and we’re living in changing times. We believe this is a positive move by the city to take over ownership and to move on from here,” he said.

Stewart said lobster carnival has played an important role in the city’s history attracting tourists to the western capital and credited the many dedicated volunteers who gave of their time and talents over the years.

More events will be announced at a later date.

For more information on the Summerside Lobster Festival go to

Organizations: Boys and Girls Club of Summerside, Harbourfront Theatre, Lobster Carnival committee

Geographic location: Summerside, Water Street

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Recent comments

  • Bill
    July 10, 2014 - 10:58

    I can remember when the Lobster Carnival first started out, it used to be the event of the summer for us when we were kids. I lived in Summerside back in the early 60's and we couldn't wait for the event every summer. Why would you change the name when the majority of Islanders and tourists alike remember it as the Summerside Lobster Carnival. It just sounds much better than festival. Leave the name as it is and has been for so many years.

  • Summerside Lobster Festival
    April 16, 2014 - 14:07

    Hi West Ender and ReBranding Thanks for your comments. We are open to suggestions as to what changes you would like to see in the Lobster Festival this year and beyond. Go to our website and click on the survey and input your thoughts. We are all ears - and we hope to get an opportunity to exceed your expectations this year! Don

  • David Bradshaw
    April 16, 2014 - 13:51

    My motto with the rides...go big or tell them to stay home.The old days of Lottsa rides were great for the kids but last 5 or more years little over 5 rides for insane prices.The day it use to surround the rink use to draw a large crowd.Changes I find is what killed the event.

  • Tracy
    April 16, 2014 - 11:07

    Would have been better to change the events instead of the name.

  • west ender
    April 15, 2014 - 17:43

    Earth shattering. Truly earth shattering.

  • Rebranding?
    April 15, 2014 - 16:58

    I don't see the effort to rebrand. Lobster Carnival to Lobster Festival isn't exactly an overhaul - I don't imagine this makes much of a difference as far as success. I personally feel like there is a stigma surrounding this carnival/festival and that it needs more than a single word change. I hope they do that with a significant improvement on events and activities.

    • Ryan
      April 16, 2014 - 08:27

      Hey @Rebranding, just curious what you would change if you could? I've gone to a few events in the past and mostly enjoyed them, the actual rides and attraction I feel had the most stigma.