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Acadian Festival Committee, town and chamber find solution to vacancies

MADAWASKA, Maine — The town of Madawaska has worked with the St. John Valley Chamber of Commerce and remaining Acadian Festival Committee members the last couple of months to come up with a solution for filling the vacancies left by former committee president Chris Braley and other volunteers who have stepped away. 

 

At its Jan. 13 meeting, the Board of Selectmen spoke with chamber director Sharon Boucher, who informed the board of her decision to take on the responsibilities of co-chair of the festival committee, along with Jane Carter Corbin. 

Boucher is no stranger to the Valley or to the Acadian Festival. In fact, Boucher was the director of the Acadian Festival when it started in 1988 until she moved in 1990. 

“The chamber Board of Directors has graciously agreed to my participation in this year’s festival,” Boucher said. “We are joined by the town of Madawaska’s many department heads and officials. The committee is just the organizing body — the town, its organizations and past festival participants are the ones who make it happen.” 

Boucher said she hopes to help get the festival back to the roots of celebrating the Acadian heritage and language, while also involving children through Family Fun Day. 

“But also in the traditions of the history through plays, dancing and music,” she said. 

The committee wants to bring back many of the Acadian Festival favorites including corn hole, human foosball, quilt and craft fairs, parades, the Acadian Mass and more. The festival is still in the planning stages for 2020.

The Acadian Day Committee composed of Vinnie Fralliciardi, Priscilla Canaan, Nicole Bellefleur and Jackie Soucy will also work with the Acadian Festival Committee for Acadian Day, held on Aug. 15 each year. For the Acadian landing reenactment and Mass, the festival committee is also working with the Maine Heritage Council and Gerald Soucy for the events that will take place on June 28, 2020. 

Of course, the chamber will still do the Poutine Palooza and Party Du Main Street. 

“Hopefully we have sidewalk vendors and get our businesses involved in the celebration,” Boucher said. 

The Acadian Festival Committee is made up of cho-chairs Sharon Boucher and Jane Carter Corbin, treasurer Theresa Theriault, Nancy Michaud, Paul Michaud, Brenda Forbes, Paula Gendreau, Mark Epstein, Ruby Theriault, Bern Thibeault and Lorraine Marston. 

“For myself and others on the committee, it’s a chance to give back to the community and for myself, personally, it’s a chance to once again be involved in this community which I love and came back home to,” Boucher said. 

“No matter where I’ve been, Madawaska and its people have always been my home. I want to keep our language and history alive for the younger generations and hope we have more involvement from this group. Those of us working on this are getting older and what happens when we’re gone?  We need others to carry the torch if we’re to keep our heritage alive for future generations,” she said.

The Acadian Festival is scheduled for Friday-Sunday, Aug. 14-16. 

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