The principal events at the original carnival and those that have stood the test of time have been the parade, the midway, and harness racing. Many other activities have been added over the years and are strongly identified with the carnival by Summerside citizens. They would include fiddling and step dancing contests, lobster suppers, band concerts, bingo, dances, livestock shows, Women’s Institute and 4-H displays, baseball, Miss PEI contests, stage and vaudeville shows, sidewalk sales, ecumenical church services, golf tournaments, celebrity dinners, stunt driving shows, variety and talent concerts, RCAF air shows, and naval ships in port.
As the years passed, some events were dropped and new ones introduced. Some of the more obscure items that appeared on the annual programs were a night shirt parade, model yacht race, wildlife display, Grandma contest, rock & roll competition, pipe band competition, marathon swim, clown diving, and tuna fishing tournament. The length of the carnival has varied from the three days of 2017 to the ten days of 2002 and has often featured designated days for certain activities, for example, Celebrity Day, Parade Day,
Midway Grounds, 1956, Sears Photography Collection
Decorated Strollers, 1964,
MHCA, Pat Brooks Collection
Majorettes in Parade, 1960
Gerald Daley Collection
Coronation Day, and Children’s Day. In more recent years the carnival has taken place in a variety of locations, but for most of its existence it was centred at the Cahill Stadium next to the Summerside Raceway on Notre Dame Street.