Madawaska is the top of the world, as far as I’m concerned, and what a week to be there. The Acadian Festival, scheduled for June 24-27, is sure to sweep you off your feet.
The road from Van Buren to Fort Kent follows the St. John River, with a view of New Brunswick the whole way.
The festival in Madawaska, marking the 225th anniversary of the landing of the Acadians in nearby St. David (part of Madawaska), will have it all — music, food, a quilting show in the Madawaska High School cafeteria lobby and activities galore. Featured events include:
- Historian-genealogist Guy Dubay, genealogy lecture at 1 p.m. Friday, June 25, at the Madawaska High School library, Seventh Avenue.
- The 20th Maine Volunteers Regiment, Company B, Civil War encampment 4-8 p.m. June 25, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. June 26, and 9-11 a.m. June 27, in the Multipurpose Building lot on Seventh Avenue.
- Open house at the Isaie Martin Acadian Homestead, 137 St. Catherine St.
- Founding ceremony and historic landing re-enactment, 10-11:30 a.m. June 26, Acadian Cross landing site on the St. John River, road near St. David Church. Horse-drawn wagon shuttle available from the church. Music by Les Chanteurs Acadien, 12:30-2 p.m.
- Acadian Festival Parade, 1 p.m. June 27.
- Closing ceremony, 3:30-7 p.m. with music by Blue Daniel’s Band, Bicentennial Park.
- Fireworks, 10 p.m.
Music performances include:
- La Famille LeBlanc, older traditional French songs, 7:30-9:30 p.m. June 24, Bicentennial Park.
- Les Chanteurs Acadien, 11 a.m.-noon; Arthur Leblanc, noon-1 p.m.; Lionel Doucette & Joan Baron, 1:15-2:30 p.m. June 25, Bicentennial Park.
- Le Duo Audio Mo-Jo, 5-7 p.m.; Blou, Acadian music, 7-9 p.m.; Bonnie Edwards & the Practical Cats, 9 p.m.-closing June 26, Bicentennial Park.
For info on the many activities of the Acadian Festival, visit www.acadianfestival.com.
Also open during the festival will be:
- Madawaska Public Library, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays, Main Street, Madawaska. This library has a whole room of area genealogy, including books published by family reunions held over the years during the Acadian Festival. See a listing of genealogy resources at www.madawaskalibrary.org.
- St. Agatha Historical Society, 1-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Marquis House, St. Agatha.
- Long Lake Public Library, 1-4 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, St. Agatha.
- Madawaska Historical Society, noon-4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, St. David.
- Fort Kent Historical Society, Marquis Exhibit, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Dube House, Main Street, Fort Kent.
- Grand Isle Historical Society, noon-6 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Every year, a family reunion is held in conjunction with the Acadian Festival in Madawaska — but the family isn’t necessarily Acadian. Nadeaus and Pelletiers and Ouellettes and other French-Canadian families who settled in the 1600s in Quebec also have been the subject of reunions during the Acadian Festival.
Many Franco-Americans in or from the St. John Valley, such as my husband, have both French-Canadian and Acadian ancestry. His Saucier, Chamberland and Chasse grandparents had roots in Quebec, but his Theriault grandmother had ancestors from Acadia in what is now Nova Scotia.
This year’s event is the Gagnon Family Reunion of people descended from brothers Mathurin, Jean and Pierre Gagnon, who came to Quebec City in 1635, and cousin Robert Gagnon, who came about 20 years later. Activities will include:
- A talent show 7-9 p.m. June 25 in the cafeteria at Madawaska High School.
- Gagnon Family Reunion dedication of monument and family tree at Acadian Cross site, St. David.
- A Mass at 9 a.m. June 27 at St. Luce Church in Upper Frenchville.
Register for the reunion at the Madawaska High School cafeteria, Seventh Avenue. For more information, visit www.gagnonreunion.com.
There are books available with genealogy and family pictures of descendants of the Gagnons, one volume each for Mathurin, Jean, Pierre and Robert. Each reunion committee compiles these books before its reunion.
The Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society’s Observer Building in Union Square is open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays this summer.
Members have been busy setting up new exhibits, which include a needlework display of items made by local residents over the past two centuries.
Other displays include the tools used in Elwood Hussey’s saw shop and instruments used by Dr. Harold Sherman in his veterinary practice.
The museum also will be open Saturday, June 26, for the Whoopie Pie Festival, and Saturday, Aug. 7, during Homecoming.
The town of Ripley will hold its Ripley Celebration on Saturday, June 26.
The Ripley Historical Society will open at 8 a.m. and the parade begins at 10 a.m. Live entertainment will be featured noon-8 p.m., and a free children’s carnival noon-5 p.m.
Fireworks will start about 9:15 p.m.
Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402; or e-mail queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.