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Tintamarre celebrates Acadian Day in the Valley

MADAWASKA, Maine — After the conclusion of the Acadian Festival, Valley residents celebrated Acadian Day on Wednesday, Aug. 15, with a special Mass, supper, parade, and entertainment.

Aug. 15 is the real Acadian Day, according to one of the organizers for the Acadian Day festivities, Priscilla Cannon.

“The 15th is the Feast of Our Lady of Assumption, which is represented as the yellow star on the Acadian flag,” Cannon said Friday. “She guided new settlers to freedom.”

After French Catholics refused to pledge allegiance to the king of England, they were deported and landed in St. David, according to Cannon.

“Some of the original families were the Cyr, Daigle, Hebert, Marquis, Ayottes and Thibodeau families,” she said.

After the special Mass with the Van Buren choir ended, people gathered in the Bicentennial Park for chicken stew, ployes, hot dogs and beans. The Tintamarre parade followed.

“Tintamarre originates from when the Acadians were not allowed to build homes close to each other because the British were afraid they would turn against them,” said Cannon. “One day, a family wanted to visit another, so they left their home and while making noises with noisemakers, they picked up the neighbors along the way.”

Cannon said as the people were walking down the streets, the bells from the 6 p.m. Mass rang out.

“The Tintamarre was pretty much the same this year,” she said. “There were a little less people; I think it was because of the rain.”

While the thunderstorm Wednesday may have dissuaded several people from going to the parade, some were dressed just for the occasion.

The Nadeau family marched in the parade having donned rain jackets and rain ponchos, while 2-year-old Abram played a small drum that was slung over his shoulder.

“We came with the kids to be in the parade with my mom,” Abram’s mother, Stephanie, said after the parade. “We wanted to celebrate the noise-making.”

Gerald Fongemie, an artist in the area and advocate for Acadian heritage, marched in the parade alongside the young Nadeau.

“He was a young Acadian who found time to come to the parade,” Fongemie said after the parade. “We just need a couple hundred more of those kids coming to the parade.”

Despite this year’s lower turnout, the Acadian heritage rang true.

“The deceased Acadians were jumping for joy,” Cannon said. “They were forgotten people for years and years.”

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