AUGUSTA, Maine — With the World Acadian Congress now approximately 10 months away, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is reminding residents that a commemorative license plate authorized by the state to mark the event is now available for purchase.
It is the first commemorative plate produced by the state since the United States celebrated its Bicentennial in 1976.
The World Acadian Congress is held every five years in different regions populated by Acadians. The 2014 gathering 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.
In the past, the event has attracted more than 50,000 visitors for two weeks to regions including Louisiana and the Acadian Peninsula in New Brunswick.
The congress typically features more than 300 events, including family reunions, regional celebrations and sporting and cultural events. Hotels, restaurants, stores and other facilities typically see a significant influx of revenue. The economic spin-off from recent congresses has ranged from $30 million to $50 million in the host region.
Opening ceremonies will take place on Aug. 8, 2014, in New Brunswick, and Acadian National Day will be held on Aug. 15 in Maine. Closing ceremonies will be held on Aug. 24 in Canada. One of the major attractions of the event will be the family reunions that are expected to draw visitors from across the nation and the world.
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 cannot replace the legally issued plates.
The legislation passed by state lawmakers will allow for the World Acadian Congress plate to be placed over the face of the existing legal plate on the front of the 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 Maine Credit Union League partnered with the state and WAC to make the license plates available for sale at participating credit unions throughout Maine. The plates sell for $25 each. For a complete list of locations, go to www.mainecul.org.