Fun, nostalgia, something for everyone – it’s what the annual Summerside Lobster Carnival is all about, say staff at Culture Summerside as they gear up for the 2019 installation of the event.
"This year marks the 63rd [instalment] of the event. It's been the primary festival since 1956," said Marlene Campbell, one of the organizers of the event and the cultural programming coordinator with Culture Summerside.
"We're staying true to the original mandate: celebrating the lobster industry. It brings about $400 million to the Island economy, employs about 8,500 people and then there are the independent fishers. We're always bragging about having the best lobster, so we want to celebrate it."
This year's carnival will run from July 11 to 13 at the parking lot grounds of Credit Union Place.
There are lots of returning favourites like Chef Robert Pendergast, the EastCoast Amusements Midway, community barbecue and lobster boil and more.
There will be two lobster suppers this year, with both extended by an hour to give more people the opportunity to enjoy the seafood.
"We have the biscuit and roll competition returning. That's serious business. People are really proud of their biscuits and rolls. They're an Island staple and it's really part of a lobster dinner," Campbell said.
A new category has been added to the competition: sweet biscuits, meaning any that would include nuts and fruits.
Also returning is the Journal Pioneer Lobster Trap Stacking Competition.
"We're very excited to have that back. We have reduced the number of traps from 15 to 10, weighing in at about 100 to 110 pounds each."
Last year's winner took home the grand prize of $1,000 after successfully moving the traps 30 feet and then stacking them properly. Second prize is $300 and third prize is $200.
This year also marks the 51st running of the Governor's plate.
"Bringing the carnival and harness racing back together has worked really well. People want the nostalgia. That seems to be pleasing people."
“It’s really about celebrating the industry and giving people an event that is affordable and accessible to all.”
Carrie Culleton, the summer programming student with Culture Summerside, remembers attending the carnival as a child.
"I loved the Lobster Carnival. It was always something I bugged my mom to take me to. So I'm excited to see it through a new perspective. Now I'm part of making it fun for everyone rather than them making it fun for me."
There is no admission charge into the carnival, but donations are accepted.
For a full schedule or to sign up for various competitions offered at this year's carnival go to www.summersidelobstercarnival.website.
While it’s a fan favourite, the 2019 Lobster Carnival Parade will have a new route this year, say organizers of the event.
“It’s upon the advice of parade participants last year,” said Marlene Campbell, one of the organizers of the 2019 Lobster Carnival.
Like last year, the staging area of the floats will be at the Holland College Waterfront Campus. From there the route will take floats are walkers up Water Street. Then they will turn onto Central Street. It will continue there until it reaches the intersection with Notre Dame Street, where the route turns left and goes down Notre Dame until it reaches the Credit Union Place.
Campbell said they are still looking for participants for the parade.
“There are about 45 or so right now. Last year we had about 50 to 60. But we’d love to see more. There is no entry fee to participate and there isn’t a set theme, allowing participants to be as creative as they can.”
There are prizes for three categories: best overall float, most creative entry and best blast from the past float.
“It’s a great opportunity to advertise your business, but it’s also a great way to celebrate the community.”
The parade will begin at 12 p.m. sharp on Saturday, July 13.
Returning favourites, competitions and events at the Lobster Carnival:
- Midway: July 11 to 13
- Sidewalk Sale: July 11 to 12
- Entertainers like: NorthFIRE Circus, Richard Wood, Kim Tuplin and Roy MacCaull and more
- Food tastings, demonstrations and competitions: July 11 to 13
- Journal Pioneer Lobster Trap Stacking Competition: July 11
- P.E.I. Strong Woman Competition: July 13
- Harness racing 101: July 11 to 13
- The 51st running of the Governor’s Plate: July 13