Gearing up for the first Lobster Festival Parade

Colin MacLean
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SUMMERSIDE –Sunny’s Dairy Bar decided to do something a little different for the Lobster Festival (formerly Carnival) Parade this year.

Owner Kevin Biggar has participated in the iconic parade for the past number of years, usually entering a car, banner and mascot.  But he decided to go all out this time.

He’s created a small replica of his business and populated it with dolls and other toys.

“I did it for the kids,” said Biggar.

“I wanted to step up our presence in the parade and the parade is about the kids … and it’s something a little different,” he added.  

Don Quarles, executive director of the festival, said recently that he’s trying hard to breathe new life into the parade and he’s relying on volunteers and business people like Biggar to do it.

This is a big transition year for Summerside’s traditional lobster celebration. Operating for 58 years as the Lobster Carnival, the event was rebranded the Lobster Festival this year after management fell to the City of Summerside and Quarles was hired to take over as full time manager.

Traditionally the parade is the event that attracts and involves the most people and there’s a lot of history wrapped up in it, said Quarles, so it made sense to hang on to and rejuvenate it.

To do that, he, the volunteers and the sponsors, including the new major sponsor Key Murray Law, are working hard to bring in new floats with more of a creative flair.

Quarles is collecting a list of people willing to work on floats or who have supplies, like flatbeds and generators, they’re willing to lend.

He said he’s spoken to groups and businesses who are interested in entering a float, but who might not know how to create a good one or have the resources.

“They want to do it right,” he said.

“In some cases there are creative people who don’t have a float to build, or there are people who’d love to build a float but they don’t have the creative people to help them. So I’m hoping to put some of those things together,” he said.

He’s also organizing some decorating parties on the weekends leading up to the July 14 (1 p.m.) parade. These will be barbeque events where everyone will bring their supplies together to build their floats.

He’s tentatively scheduled those parties for July 5, 6, 12 and 13 with a location to be announced.

Quarles said he’ll be encouraging businesses to close down for a couple of hours, like Charlottetown does for the Gold Cup and Saucer Parade, to drum up spectatorship.

There’s also a new route this year, with the procession starting at the port on Harbour Drive, traveling down Water Street and ending on Greenwood Drive.

Following the parade there will be a mayor’s barbeque at Green’s Shore.

Anyone interested in helping out with or participating in the Lobster Festival Parade can contact Quarles through email at lobsterfestival@city.summerside.pe.ca or by calling his office at 432-1279.

More information about the festival can be found on its new website at www.summersidelobsterfest.com.

Colin.MacLean@JournalPioneer.com

@JournalPMacLean

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