MADAWASKA, Maine — A crowd of supporters ignored a major snowstorm Wednesday to witness the state’s unveiling of a commemorative license plate to mark the 2014 World Acadian Congress.
The new plate is available through a partnership with the Maine Credit Union League and can be bought at all participating credit unions across the state.
The World Acadian Congress is held every five years in different regions populated by Acadians. In 2014, it will be staged in northern Maine, northwestern New Brunswick and the Temiscouata region of Quebec from Aug. 8 to 24. This will be the first time in the event’s history that it will span two countries. Organizers say past events have drawn more than 50,000 visitors from 44 different countries and had an economic impact exceeding $50 million on the areas where they’ve been held.
Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers attended the unveiling at Norstate Federal Credit Union in Madawaska via phone conference and noted that the commemorative license plate is the first one issued by the state in 40 years.
That fact, he said, “speaks volumes about our recognition of the outstanding contributions of the Acadian people here in the St. John Valley and of Franco-Americans throughout our great state.”
A commemorative license plate is different than the official license plates issued by the state to support various causes such as agriculture, the University of Maine, and breast cancer research. It does not have any numbers or letters on its face and under the legislation passed by state lawmakers can only be placed over the face of the existing legal plate on the front of a vehicle. The commemorative plate will expire in December 2015 and can remain as the visible license plate on the front of vehicles registered in Maine through that time. The existing legal plate on the back of the vehicle must remain on and visible.
The commemorative plates, which will cost $25, will go on sale Thursday at all participating Maine credit unions.
Proceeds from the sale will support efforts in Maine to organize World Acadian Congress activities.
Assuming all 6,000 limited edition commemorative plates sell, proceeds should net $90,000.
As part of the partnership with the Maine Credit Union League, World Acadian Congress organizers will donate $1 to the Ending Hunger Campaign for any commemorative plate sold through a Maine credit union.
The license plates will be available for those living outside of the state at the official World Acadian Congress souvenir website for the U.S. side of the border www.cma-store.com .