MADAWASKA, Maine — Planning for the 2014 World Acadian Congress is off and running with the naming of the organizing committee and a trio of co-presidents, including a longtime advocate of Maine’s Acadian culture.
Jason Parent, Northern Maine Community College director of development and college relations, will represent northern Maine on the congress’s organizational committee and joins fellow co-presidents Serge Fortin of Temiscouata, Quebec, and Huguette Plourde of New Brunswick.
Maine, Quebec and New Brunswick joined forces in the Acadian World Congress application process, and the site selection for the 2014 event covers the three regions, the first time in the event’s history it has spanned two borders.
“This is an event of a lifetime,” Parent said. “I’ve been involved with promoting and preserving Acadian culture for 15 years, and I am really excited with this opportunity.”
Held every five years, the Acadian World Congress in the past has attracted more than 50,000 visitors over two weeks to host regions including Louisiana and the Acadian Peninsula in New Brunswick. The 2014 World Acadian Congress will take place in late August of that year and includes cultural, historical, educational and sporting events throughout the regions.
In winning the 2014 bid, the Maine-New Brunswick-Quebec regions, operating under the unified title “Acadia of the Lands and Forests,” beat out competing applications from Quebec City and Louisiana.
“This is a crowning moment for Acadians in the St. John Valley,” Parent said. “So many people worked so hard to bring this event here.”
Jean Paul Savoie, mayor of Kedgwick, New Brunswick, was elected president of the 2014 WAC. Representing northern Maine on the executive board of directors are Don Levesque, secretary; Louise Martin, director; Lise Pelletier, director; and Anne Roy, director.
In addition to working with the planning of past Acadian Festivals in Madawaska, Parent is the past president of the Maine Acadian Heritage Council.
“A big part of what I will be doing is mobilizing the Maine front,” he said. “This is a coordinated effort but also very unique in that we are three distinct regions.”
“This is really going to put our Acadian culture on the map,” Parent said.