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Acadian Festival to celebrate 40th anniversary

A parade float waits to deploy for an Acadian Festival parade in Madawaska on Aug. 13, 2016. (Adam Nadeau photo)

This year’s Acadian Festival will mark the 40th year the celebration of Acadian culture and tradition has taken place. Three days of activities will kick off the festival on Friday, Aug. 11, with an all day schedule including art shows, eating contests, and a party on Main Street.

Then on Tuesday, a separate celebration marks National Acadian Day with more food, music, clowns, a Mass at St. Thomas Catholic Church, and a tintamarre parade, where folks march through streets making fanfare with improvised instruments and noisemakers.

The Acadian Festival’s Party du Main Street on Friday will host Disney characters, face painting, a poutine (french fries, gravy and cheese) eating contest, performers, music, and dancing. The party will start at 6 p.m. and end with the Bad Mother Boogie Band performing.

While there are new, and more modern activities, the festival gives visitors an opportunity to experience traditional Acadian food, music, and culture.

To mark the special 40th anniversary, the Acadian Festival Committee chose four families that first started the Acadian Festival as the hosts of this years celebration. The Daigle, Dufour, Hebert, and Cyr families all will be celebrated. In past years, organizers worked with only one or two families whose members organized reunions and other activities for their family.

“We chose the four families to get more people involved. We want more families to come back and visit the area,” said Festival Committee Chair Jane Carter. “We are really hoping for a big turnout, like we have had in the past.”

Teams compete in the ‘Madore Shuffle’ on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016 during the Acadian Festival in Madawaska. (Courtesy of Adam Nadeau)

The celebration will continue on Saturday, Aug. 12, with a family-fun day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Madawaska Multi Purpose Center, including laser tag, face painting, games, and a giant inflatables park. The center also will host an antique car show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., a human foosball tournament at 1 p.m., and music from DJ Sue.

Later Saturday evening, a family supper will take place at the Madawaska High School starting at 4 p.m.  This supper will celebrate the four host families, but is open to the public. The menu includes traditional Acadian meals such as Pot an Pot, mashed carrots and turnips, and Potato de Bernard. Meal tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children.

Saturday will conclude with live music from the Silver Arrow Band beginning at 7 p.m. and a fireworks show at 10 p.m., both at the Multi Purpose Center.

Sunday will start with a chicken BBQ at 11 a.m, followed by the Acadian Festival Parade at 1 p.m. The festival will end at the Multi Purpose Center Sunday night  with a closing and awards ceremony.

“The people that come back have something to enjoy every night,” said Carter. “We want people to come help us celebrate the 40th year of this festival.”

This year, the Acadian Festival Committee sent out programs in the mail from Fort Kent to Van Buren. However, a full schedule of events also is available online at www.acadianfestival.com.

For more information on activities and performances for the separate National Acadian Day being held on Tuesday, Aug. 15 visit online reussirici.org.

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