Atlanticade's future up in air

New financial deal needed to bring motorcycle event back to Summerside

Mike Carson
Published on July 3, 2014
Motorcyclists from across Canada and the U.S. line up at Credit Union Place for the closing Parade of Iron Horses for the 2014 Atlanticade event. An estimated 4,000 people took part in this year’s event. 
Mike Carson/Journal Pioneer

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 his committee wants 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 this data we’ve collected this past weekend if we weren’t planning on coming back.”

Hicks said the committee has been collecting data for a report to present to the province and the municipality. He said they want to make it clear that Atlanticade is more that a motorcycle event‚ it is a tourism event.

“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. Like every other event, it costs lots of money to make it happen. 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 and the turnout.

“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 costs between $150,000 to $160,000.

“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.”

The final number of registrations haven’t been compiled yet but he estimated about 4,000 registered for Atlanticade 2014.

“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.”