Music in the Park is set to be Haliburton Rotary’s feature summer event in 2023. /FILE

Rotary will not host annual carnival this summer

By Vivian Collings
Facing midway operator shortages across the province, the Rotary Club of Haliburton made the difficult decision to announce they will not be hosting their traditional carnival in Head Lake Park this August.
The club is instead focusing their attention on their Music in the Park series, which is extended by two dates in 2023.
“We’re sad that the carnival’s not going to be there and that the Midway won’t be there, but times change, and Rotary is moving forward with change. We’re going to grow with what’s working,” said Haliburton Rotary president Ursula Devolin.
She said over the past two years, they had contacted every midway operator in Ontario to try and get one to bring their rides to Haliburton.
With the carnival typically held on the Wednesday after the August long weekend, they even considered other dates, but with the few operators already facing jam-packed schedules, it wasn’t attainable.
“It just doesn’t work,” Devolin said. “During COVID, at least three of the companies shut down, so there are fewer suppliers with the same amount of demand in small communities, so there’s just not enough to go around.”
Instead of a carnival, Rotary is carrying on with their weekly summer event this year and adding a few new features.
“We feel like we need to move on, and we’re definitely disappointed that the tradition of running a Midway won’t be able to continue, but the Rotary club is still doing a lot in the summer time,” Devolin said.
Rotary partners with the Haliburton County Folk Society to put on Music in the Park, a weekly concert at the bandshell at Head Lake Park happening each Tuesday evening featuring talent from a broad range of genres.
This year, they have extended the event by two extra weeks, one at the end of June and one at the end of August, for a total of 10 outdoor concerts to look forward to.
“Music in the Park is a great event for locals, cottagers, and tourists,” said Music in the Park chair Steve Roberts.
On Tuesday, Aug. 8, Music in the Park will be an expanded event with food, Rotary’s annual car draw, and extra entertainment.
“We can only do so much. We only have about 25 individuals to run all of this,” Devolin said. “Music in the Park has been incredibly popular. We feel that that’s a great service we provide to the community.”
More information on Music in the Park will be released in the future.