Acadian Festival back in the Saint-Jean valley


The Acadian Festival returns to the Saint-Jean valley after a year-long hiatus due to COVID-19.

MADAWASKA, Maine – The Acadian Festival is returning to the Saint-Jean valley after a year of hiatus due to COVID-19.

The four-day celebration is Maine’s largest Crown event and regularly draws thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world to celebrate Acadian heritage and cultural traditions. It also brings an influx of business to local businesses and hotels, especially in Madawaska where events are concentrated.

The event kicks off Thursday, August 12 and features traditional Acadian traditions like quilt-making and an uproar parade, as well as games, live music and other attractions. The festival ends on the Fête des Acadiens, Sunday August 15.

Planning for the Festival acadien began at the end of the year as the planning committee assessed whether the pandemic would put the event on the sidelines for a second year in a row, said Festival Acadien co-chair Sharon Boucher.

“Iit is just wonderful for people to be able to celebrate our Acadian roots once again this year, ”said Boucher. “We weren’t sure if this year would even happen, so we started planning a bit late and thought it would be reduced. But we have a busy schedule and we’re very happy with it and know people are going to really enjoy it.

Although the Acadian Festival is making a full comeback with in-person events throughout the weekend, COVID-19 continues to complicate the celebration.

Acadian Day is a national holiday in Canada, and Acadians usually flock across the New Brunswick border to join in the festivities of the Saint John Valley. Between 500 and 1,000 people generally cross the border this weekend, said the co-chair of the Acadian Festival and director of the Saint-Jean Valley Chamber of Commerce, Sharon Boucher.

However, the US border is still closed to Canadians, even though vaccinated US citizens have won full permissions to cross on Monday August 9. For many residents of the Saint John Valley, that means family and friends will be separated for the holidays.

“We are so sorry that we do not have our Canadian visitors to share this event with again this year,” said Boucher. “They add so much to our festival every year. Our symbiotic relationship with our friends “across the river” is a big piece that will be sorely missed this year.. “

The festival coincides with two other major cultural events in the Crown of Maine, the Ploye Festival and the Muskie Derby, both in neighboring Fort Kent.

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