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Variety of activities, events keep visitors busy during Acadian Festival

MADAWASKA, Maine — The 41st Annual Acadian Festival featured a variety of activities to suit families and individuals this past weekend.

Bode Ayotte slides down a slide on the bouncy castle Saturday during the Acadian Festival Family Fun Day in Madawaska. His father Jeff returned from Gorham to Madawaska for the Ayotte family reunion. (Morgan Mitchell | SJVT/FhF)

Tents and attractions filled the field at the Madawaska Multi Purpose center where everything from snakes to dogs, and lumberjacks to bouncy castles caught the attention of younglings and their parents alike.

Madawaska resident Monica Hebert said she has attended every single festival, and she made it clear to organizers and committee members that she thought this was the best year ever.

“There were so many activities for the kids to keep busy, even my husband said there’s so many Acadian things to do,” Hebert said Saturday. “You can tell my kids are tuckered out, which is awesome.”

The family took advantage of the activities and hit every single one.

Children get their chance to play human foosball against Tom and Jerry Saturday during the Acadian Festival Family Fun Day in Madawaska. (Morgan Mitchell | SJVT/FhF)

“We did the bouncy houses, dog show, craft fair, four-wheeler ride, pet a bunch of weird animals … this was the best festival ever, hands down,” she said.

Evelyn Holabird, 3, and mother Aimee visited the Mr. Drew and his animals too tent and observed different animals. Evelyn even held one of the snakes.

“She’s not scared of anything,” Aimee said Saturday.

It was the first time the little girl held a snake and all she could say was, “It was cool.”

Candide Daigle Sedlik gets her serving of supper at the Acadian Family Supper Saturday evening. (Morgan Mitchell | SJVT/FhF)

Saturday continued with the Acadian Family Supper hosted by Chez Helen at the Madawaska Middle High School cafeteria. One of the attendees of the dinner was Candide Daigle Sedlik, an 85-year-old woman who was born in Madawaska but now lives in West Hartford, Connecticut.

“I was born here and I love the people and the festivities,” Sedlik said.

Sedlik grew up on the Daigle family farm in Madawaska, but moved to Connecticut after high school. That never stopped her from coming back.

“I have come to all of the festivals,” she said. “I have never missed one, and hopefully I will be around next year to come again.”

Sunday afternoon, several organizations participated in the parade down Main Street. Including Boy Scout Troop 190, which won the award for the best non-profit entry. The award for the most original float went to the Acadia Federal Credit Union, and the award for the most entertaining went to the Shriners who had three different entries including clowns and indie cars.

As the festival died down, the time came for the human foosball tournament where teams made up of players from local businesses and municipal government played against each other for the grand prize of $300. During each round, the 6-person teams entered the arena made of plywood, chicken wire, and PVC covered cables.

Members of Boy Scout Troop 190 march in the parade down Main Street Sunday during the Acadian Festival. The troop took the award for the best non-profit group in the parade. (Morgan Mitchell | SJVT/FhF)

Many of the spry teammates refused to enter through the gate, and instead jumped the railing to take their place before the games began. As the balls rolled up and down the makeshift foosball field, players were required to keep their hands on the PVC pipes and, using only their feet, try to kick the ball into the opposing team’s goal.

While the games intensified with each round, the captive audience had to stay alert for risk of being hit by rogue soccer balls. In the final round, Professional Plumbing Solutions outplayed Paradis Shop ‘n Save for the victory.

Organizers and attendees alike said this was the best year yet.

“The weather was beautiful, there was beautiful entertainment, and, I know we say this every year, but I really do believe this was the best year ever,” said Chris Braley, the president of the Acadian Festival committee.

Committee members also were in agreement that local businesses gave more this year than they have any other year, and public participation was also at an all-time high.

“When the band was closing down [Saturday] night, almost everyone went up and shook their hand and thanked them for coming,” Braley said.

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