The future of the Jack Frost Festival is on ice after negotiations with a private firm to organize the event fell through.

For the last eight years, Tourism Charlottetown organized the festival. But the organization got out of the event planning business in the spring.

Last month, negotiations between the city and a private company went sour.

"Unfortunately the budgets were put together, and at the end of the day the firm just said, 'sorry, I'm not willing to take that risk,' and they walked away," said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee.

"Somebody needs to assume ownership and responsibility for it, and that somebody can't be the city of Charlottetown."

New organizers needed

Lee said the city is now in discussions with other groups, but time is running out.

"I think if anything's going to happen, it needs to happen within probably the next seven to 10 days because this event needs to be marketed throughout Atlantic Canada. And that type of thing, and time's not on our side, there's no question about it."

There is no information on Tourism Prince Edward Island's website.

Last year, the festival brought in almost $3 million to the local economy and 14,000 people took part. An estimated 60 per cent of them were from out of province.

"I think it's a good family event," said Rebecca Powers, who hopes the festival will be saved. "We look forward to it every year because there's not much else to do in the wintertime."