SUMMERSIDE – The weather was perfect, the numbers were high for Atlanticade 2014 but unless a financial deal can be worked out, the event’s three-year run in Summerside may be over.
Atlanticade organizer Dale Hicks said he and his committee want to bring Atlanticade back to Summerside but it will all come down to money
“It’s the end of the three-year agreement we had with the city and the province,” Hicks said. Now we’re talking about going forward. There were all kinds of rumours that we weren’t coming back but we wouldn’t be collecting all of this data we’ve collected going into the site this past weekend if we weren’t planning on coming back.”
Hick said the committee has been collecting data to present a report to the province and to the municipality.
He said they want to make it clear that Atlanticade is more that a motorcycle event. It is a tourism event.
The data will show “this is where people came from. This how many there were. This is how long they stayed,” Hicks said. “We’re not Cavendish Beach Music Festival by any means but there are other events that go on and I hear the funding level they get. I shake my head and wonder how that compares to our event.
“It’s going to be interesting discussions going forward but our intentions are to keep it here but, like every other event that goes on, it costs lots of money to make it happen,” he said. “Hopefully, we’re going to have it back here for another three years or maybe longer.”
Hicks said the cost for staging Atlanticade depends on what events the participants want to take part in when they are on the Island.
“People come to me with ideas like you should do this and I say find me a $5,000 sponsor and we’ll do that,” he said. “The event right now is running in the $150,000 to $160,000 to put it on. We always struggle to meet that through sponsors. This year we gained a couple of sponsors and we lost a few sponsors. If you get rain, people don’t show up and don’t buy tickets to events. You’re always running that tight line between ‘are you going to make it or not.’ It’s stressful to run an event like that.”
Hick said he is hoping to get a little bit of money so “we can take that pressure off and maybe add a few things and upgrade the event a bit. We’re hopeful we can all come to an agreement.”
Hicks said the final numbers of registrations haven’t been compiled yet but estimated about 4,000 registered.
“The weather is the key to this event at the end of the day because you need that to drag the people here, especially the Maritime crowd,” Hicks said. “We had people here from every province in Canada, including someone from Yellowknife. We had people from Tennessee, Virginia, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, all down through the states.”
Doug Parker from Summerside took part in his first Atlanticade this past weekend.
“I was around last year but I didn’t have a bike but this year I bought a bike and we’re having a ball. We did the Highway of Heroes. I went on the run the other night on the bridge and then I’m going out on the last one today (Tuesday).”
Parker said he hopes the event returns next year so he can sign up once again.