MADAWASKA, Maine — You do not have to be Acadian to attend the 44th annual Madawaska Acadian Festival, where all are welcome to celebrate authentic Acadian foods, music, crafts and artistry.
Thousands have attended the annual four-day event each year since it first began in 1978. This year the festival will take place Aug. 11-15.
“The festival is a celebration of how we, as Acadians, came to this area (the St. John Valley) and through all the hardships, made this area our home. For us who live here and for many who have moved away, it’s still our home,” festival committee member Danielle Hebert said. “This festival is just a small way for us to come together as one big ‘family’ and celebrate that.”
This year’s event will include two guided bus tours to visit historic sites of significance to Acadian culture.
At the heart of the Acadian Festival is family, so there are plenty of family-friendly activities taking place during the event, including a human Foosball game, monster truck rides, a cornhole tournament and a craft fair.
“There’s a huge sense of community and family throughout the festival and that’s a big part of our Acadian culture,” said.
The aptly named local band French Toast will perform Saturday evening at the Madawaska Multipurpose building during which there will be a fireworks display.
The famous Tintamarre parade will travel along Main Street on Acadian Day, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. Tintamarre is a colorful and intentionally noisy tradition where Acadians, many dressed in traditional attire, others with giant paper mache heads or “grosses tetes,” make as much noise as possible to announce the survival of the Acadians.
A small committee meets throughout the year to plan the festival, which is sponsored by local businesses.
“Of course, the small group of us could not possibly do this on our own. We have many volunteers that help out during the weekend,” Hebert said. “It certainly takes a lot of effort and time to put this event together, but we do it because it brings families together in celebration of our wonderful culture and heritage.”
Correction: A previous version of this story provided an incorrect time and date for the Tintamarre parade. The parade will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15, on Main Street.