PEI

Summerside Lobster Festival gets off to spirited start

The Summerside Lobster Festival kicked off Monday with a parade and while the weather wasn't ideal as it turned from drizzle to pouring rain, it didn't dampen any spirits.

The festival runs until Saturday and about 20,000 people are expected to take part

Jasper McCormack and his father Jeff performed in Monday's parade for the Summerside Lobster Festival. (Laura Meader/CBC)

The Summerside Lobster Festival kicked off Monday with a parade and while the weather wasn't ideal, as it turned from drizzle to pouring rain, it didn't dampen any spirits.

For James MacHattie, a member of the College of Piping band, the rainy weather meant the bagpipes would get out of tune, but he wasn't concerned.

"We're going to be out there smiling and playing our hearts out," he said.

The McCormack family from Tyne Valley were also smiling. Jeff McCormack and his son Jasper took part in the parade, with dad playing the role of a clown and his son riding a unicycle.

"People just love seeing a kid like me ride a unicyle. It's something you don't see everyday," said Jasper.

About 20,000 people are expected to attend the week-long event and organizers say there's more variety than in the past.

"We're stepping it up. There's no question. There's more lobster, there's more music, there's more entertainment," said executive director Don Quarles.

There's even a tent set up for indoor activities and on Monday an aboriginal drum circle performed.

Quarles says there are a number of theme days as part of the festival, including Acadian Day, Mi'kmaq Culture Day, Celtic Day and a Diversity Festival.

The festival gets municipal and provincial funding, as well as corporate sponsorship.  Paradegoers also donate.

The festival wraps up Saturday.

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