2014 Acadian Congress Seeking Family Reunions
By Roxanne Moore Saucier, Bangor Daily News, Staff
June 19, 2011
Organizers of the fifth World Acadian Congress, scheduled for Aug. 8-24, 2014, in northern Maine, northwestern New Brunswick and the Temiscouata region of Quebec, hope to increase the number of family reunions from 80 in 2009 to more than 100.
The two weeks of this unique event, held previously in Louisiana and Canada, have brought in as many as 50,000 visitors. The Maine-New Brunswick-Quebec group, according to a June 6 story by BDN reporter Jen Lynds, will host the gathering as “Acadia of the Lands and Forests.”
Emilien Nadeau, president of the international organizing committee, put out the call for groups interested in hosting family reunions during the 2014 event near the Acadian Cross, the landmark in Madawaska-St. David where Acadians landed on the banks of the St. John River in 1785. Jason Parent is president of the Maine delegation, and Leo-Paul Charest is executive director for the 2014 WAC.
Families in the St. John Valley have been putting on large reunions for dozens of years at the same time as the Acadian Festival, formerly held in late June. This year (2011), the 34th Acadian Festival and the annual family reunion in Madawaska were moved to Aug. 11-15 to coincide with International Acadian Day on Aug. 15. The 2011 gathering was the Cyr Family Reunion, celebrating ancestors and descendants of one of the St. John Valley’s Acadian families. Some years the reunion honors a family with French-Canadian roots in Quebec.
Acadian Congress in 2014: The first round of applications for families, family associations, communities and others interested in hosting reunions in 2014 will continue through Nov. 1. WAC staff, assisted by the family reunion committee, will work to bring together any competing applicants for reunions of the same family name to encourage collaboration and the submission of a single proposal. Forms are available at http://cma2014.org/ and at branches of Norstate Credit Union in Maine.
The form asks reasons or connections for hosting the gathering at the proposed location; activities planned and infrastructure and equipment needed; historic, cultural or tourist aspects to be highlighted; number of people expected to attend; whether the group has organized a family gathering before and other comments and information.
The reunions will be part of the 300 events, which will include regional celebrations, sporting and cultural activities. In addition to families of Acadian descent, the organization welcomes applications from other families with lineage common in northern Maine, northwest New Brunswick and Quebec.
Once the first venues for 2014 family reunions are announced early next year, WAC will launch the second round of applications.
Host family reunion organizing committees selected will be provided with $500 in seed money to begin planning their event.