CMA ambassadors call Big E trip a success (with gallery)

8 October 2013

ACADIA OF THE LANDS AND FORESTS/West Springfield, Mass. – A group representing the Maine Regional Coordinating Committee of the World Acadian Congress returned from a successful trip to the Big E last weekend to promote the upcoming Congrès.

The Big E New England state fair, which people also know as the Eastern States Exposition, is the largest agricultural event on the eastern seaboard and the sixth largest fair in the nation. According to CMA Co-President George Dumond, the trip allowed the group to promote the World Acadian Congress to a large number of people in a short period of time. He said, “We're trying to target areas in Central and Southern Maine, but also Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.”

On Saturday, September 28, the crew of twelve set up a booth in the Maine building as part of the Maine Day celebration.

Maine Governor Paul LePage joined them for part of the day.

They brought to the event a beautiful display, a giant Acadian flag, and grosse tetes, the large colorful heads that are iconic symbols of the Acadian people.

The grosse tetes captured the attention of many people, and the fair organizers had a request. Dumond said, “We ended up in the closing day parade.”

As the thousands of people attending the fair saw the booth, Dumond said he and his crew would invite people into conversations about their heritage. Dumond said, “We were looking to engage Acadians.”

As people spoke to the enthusiastic crew from northern Maine, Dumond and the others would attempt to speak to the members of the crowd about their family tree. Dumond said, “We met a lot of people with last names that were Acadian. I'd say, “Congratulations, you are a proud Acadian.””

He said, “We met many who knew they were Acadian, but did not know about the CMA.”

The group, which consisted of George Dumond, Lorraine Pelletier, Dick Marston, Darey and Mary Gagnon, Romeo and Diane Parent, Pat Ezzy, Lydia Martin, Melanie-Eve Bourque, and Kelly Martin, were able to spread the word to many people. Kelly Martin said, “When people found out about their French descent, they would get so excited.”

The main message Dumond and his crew wanted to pass to the crowds was that Le Congrès Mondial Acadien in August of 2014 would be a month of celebrations, family reunions and cultural discovery for all who attend.

The core message, said Dumond, was “You need to check this out.”

The Acadian World Congress, or Le Congrès Mondial Acadien, is a festival of Acadian and Cajun culture and history, held every five years.

(Editor's note - In a previous version of this story, we incorrectly identified Romeo and Diane Parent as Romeo and Linda Cyr. We strive for accuracy in our reporting and regret any confusion this may have caused.)