Acadian Festival 2019 will be a ‘homecoming for all families’
MADAWASKA, Maine — It only happens once a year, and it only happens in the Valley. The 42nd annual Acadian Festival is coming back to Madawaska the weekend of Aug. 15-18 to celebrate not one, but all, Acadian families coming home for the 150th anniversary in the town of Madawaska.
The festival celebrates Acadian heritage and usually marks a family reunion for one of the original families to settle in the Valley. This year, however, with the festival celebration going hand in hand with the anniversary of the town, Acadian Festival Committee organizer Mindy Braley said they “have chosen to make this sort of a homecoming for all families.”
She added that the committee encourages any family who wants to be recognized in a festival to notify the committee.
“This festival has also been a staple for so many years and continues to be the time of year when many families have gatherings and reunions,” said Acadian Festival President Chris Braley.
The weekend is filled with several returning events. The Party du Main Street, a human foosball tournament, fire department barbecue and Sunday parade mark annual events that help make the Acadian Festival what it is.
The activities begin Thursday and showcase a more traditional Acadian feel. Acadian Mass helps to set off the weekend at 3 p.m. at St. Thomas Catholic Church. The Tintamarre Parade begins at 6 p.m. after the chicken stew and ployes in the park event.
Friday starts out with a watermelon eating contest at Paradis Shop ‘n Save, a senior picnic at the multi-purpose center, and a Ford test drive fundraiser at the Madawaska Middle High School. For the fundraiser, each person who test drives a Ford and completes an email survey will secure $20 for the Madawaska Athletic Boosters.
On Friday evening, Main Street shuts down and a huge party starts called Party Du Main Street. This huge celebration spans throughout Madawaska’s downtown area and features activities like a poutine eating contest, face painting, variety shows, live entertainment, a cornhole tournament and the conclusion of Poutine Palooza.
Saturday is a day for family fun with an inflatable fun park, a baby crawling contest, the annual Acadian Family Supper by Mike Corbin, and of course, more live entertainment.
“This year we are also celebrating the 150th so the Femmes of Rock concert on August 17th is the must-go part of the festival,” Braley said. “This is something we have never seen here before and have already sold over 500 tickets! Going to be a show to remember. If there’s something you don’t want to miss, it’s this show.”
Among some of the other activities going on throughout the weekend include quilting, art shows, craft fairs and expos all over town. Sunday will wrap up with closing ceremonies and awards for the human foosball tournament.
“Those who have moved away tend to come home during this time of year,” Braley said. “It’s the time of year where families can be families and celebrate our culture and build on the already strong values that this St. John valley has.”