For 37 years, the Acadian Festival has been bringing people from all over the United States and Canada to celebrate their Acadian roots in the town of Madawaska. Jane Carter, who organizes the festival events, says that this year, the Congrès Mondial Acadien (World Acadian Congress) will bring in over 120 Acadian families to the three regions (Edmundston, New Brunswick; Témiscouata; Québec; and Madawaska, Maine). This year, the celebration will be huge as Acadian families reunite to remember their roots.
The Acadian Festival, hosted in Madawaska, offers various events and activities to showcase the lives of the Acadian people, and to serve as a reminder of the Acadian culture and traditions. Carter says there are many things for visitors to look forward to this coming week. On Thursday, August 14th, from 3 - 4 p.m., the Historic Landing Re-Enactment will take place, followed by a performance by Josée Vachon, featuring French songs from 6 - 8 p.m.
Friday, August 15th, celebrates the World Acadian Congress with the Grand Noise-Making Parade (le Tintamarre), The Spectacle l’Acadie de l’Amerique Music Show, and a fireworks display. On Sunday, August 17th, a festive parade will wrap up the celebratory events at 1 p.m.
The importance of this event for businesses in the small-town community of Madawaska is significant. Across town, the Acadian flag, beautiful flowers, and paintings decorate the streets and bring energy and cultural pride to the small town. Carter says people from as far away as California and Louisiana visit the area to learn more about their heritage and to celebrate the importance of culture and tradition.
Celebrating the Acadian history is complex. That is because “Acadian” is more than a culture. The definition encompasses geographic, linguistic, cultural, national and genealogical factors. Understanding the word “Acadian” is not straightforward. This week, my mission is to uncover a concrete definition of what it means to be Acadian.
Follow me this week as I attend the events of the Acadian Festival, and feature the Acadian culture and people on my mission to discover: "What it means to be Acadian!"
Please visit www.acadianfestival.com for event details and schedule. To read more about the World Acadian Congress, and the associated events, please visit www.cma2014.com.