“Here it comes!” Zack Arsenault excitedly yelled to his mother, Rayona, as the first faint notes of brass and drums crinkled the air in the distance.
“My daughters, Paige and Jadyn, are in the Atlantic Academy of Performing Arts and they’re on a float in the parade,” noted Arsenault, while pointing out neighbours and friends in the crowd.
“Sherri-Lee Darrach runs the Academy program and she’s a friend of mine. She asked the children to participate in this, and my girls were very excited. They’re dressed as cowgirls,” she proudly added.
It’s a slow crawl for the 70 floats and three bands that started their journey from Holland College Waterfront Campus parking lot while cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd.
Leading the parade was a Prince County RCMP car, followed closely behind by the Cadets Canada.
Candy is tossed into the air towards excited children. There’s people cruising past on Segways, a Green Party member towering on stilts, Summerside’s Roller Derby League, a fire truck, tow truck, and mini cars, to name but a few floats.
“When I was a child my favourite parts were the treats being tossed, the spray from the water guns, and the big fire trucks honking their horns,” Arsenault remembered.
She added, “Now I enjoy watching the marching bands and seeing the Shriners Club come in their mini cars. And it’s nice that my children get to experience this too – just as I did.”
Marlene Campbell, the cultural programming coordinator of Summerside, says the Lobster Carnival is 61-years-old.
“The carnival started in 1956, and Edgar Cannon had the idea for it. It was done by service clubs, and they did have a parade from the beginning,”
She continued, “The lobster industry is vital to the Island. Its value to the economy is worth $300 million, and we think we have the best lobster in the world too.”
The floats marched to the beat of three professional bands in the lineup.
“We had the Stadacona Band (the oldest Royal Canadian Navy band) lead the parade, then the Belfast Drum and Pipe Band was in the middle, and our own College of Piping finished,” explained Campbell.
James MacHattie, the principle of the College of Piping, said, “This is a chance for us to give back and show the community where the support is going.”
Campbell concluded, “It’s about community spirit and community celebration. And we joined the harness racing this week too. The people really seem to like that it’s back on track at the original location.”
And the winners are...
- Most creative - The Spotlight Theatre Company float
- Most eco-friendly - The Green Party float
- People's choice - Slemon Park float
- Most old school - Wyatt Properties float.