P.E.I. festivals and exhibitions planning smaller events this summer

·3 min read
The Summerside Lobster Carnival is planning a scaled-down event for July that will not include the midway of past years.  (Explore Summerside/Facebook - image credit)
The Summerside Lobster Carnival is planning a scaled-down event for July that will not include the midway of past years. (Explore Summerside/Facebook - image credit)

Instead of the usual large crowds at events such as Charlottetown's Old Home Week and the Summerside Lobster Carnival, there will be smaller gatherings this summer on P.E.I.

Because of public health restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, P.E.I.'s large festivals and exhibitions won't go ahead as normal, but many of them will instead offer events for 150 to 200 people.

"Everybody has agreed that it has been a long season with COVID and we need some positives to happen," said Robert Wood, president of the P.E.I. Association of Exhibitions.

"Most of the festivals and exhibitions have agreed to put on several smaller events instead of a big large-scale event," said Wood.

You have to have plan A, B, C and so on. — Summerside Coun. Carrie Adams

Wood said exhibitions and large festivals are major fundraisers for the communities that host them, and they bring people together.

"It is very important that we keep our volunteer base, we keep our sponsors and let everybody know that we are going to have something in 2021 and then back full in 2022," he said.

Robert Wood, president of the P.E.I. Association of Exhibitions, says safety will be paramount at all events, for the public and volunteers alike.
Robert Wood, president of the P.E.I. Association of Exhibitions, says safety will be paramount at all events, for the public and volunteers alike. (John Robertson/CBC)

Each event will have an operational plan in place, approved by the Chief Public Health Office, and some things, like parades and food sampling, may not be possible.

Wood said this year, most organizers are not aiming to make money, but hope to break even.

Events across the province are still in the planning stages.

"I know people want to have takeout dinners. They want to have some entertainment. They'd love to have a dance, but that's still up in the air," said Wood.

Lobster Carnival planning smaller event

Summerside Coun. Carrie Adams is the chair of the culture committee, which is planning a reworked version of the city's Lobster Carnival.

"I think it's more important now than ever not to lose these things. And we all know in our communities, sometimes if you stop doing something, it's even harder to get it going," said Adams.

Summerside Coun. Carrie Adams says people can check the city’s website and the Culture Summerside Facebook page when details are released about the Lobster Carnival.
Summerside Coun. Carrie Adams says people can check the city’s website and the Culture Summerside Facebook page when details are released about the Lobster Carnival. (John Robertson/CBC)

Last year, the carnival was only held virtually, but this summer, plans are in the works for a small in-person event July 8-10.

"You have to have plan A, B, C and so on," said Adams.

"We are hoping that our lobster dinner even, could maybe be a drive-thru takeout event and still have … the things that make it special and people look forward to."

Safety paramount

Safety is the biggest concern this year, said Wood, and that means for both participants and volunteers.

"A lot of volunteers in our organizations are seniors and, you know, it's a vulnerable age group," said Wood.

"If anybody is not comfortable, we suggest that they stay at home, and no hard feelings at all."

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