It was an announcement worthy of breaking out the rapure, meat pie and a fiddle.
Many in the Island Acadian community gathered in Miscouche Wednesday to hear Premier Wade MacLauchlan announce the province will contribute $1 million to 2019 Congrès Mondial Acadien.
The event, only the sixth since it began in 1994, is being jointly hosted next year by P.E.I. and Southeast New Brunswick. Organizers estimate the event will attract upwards of 100,000 people. It is scheduled to take place between Aug. 10 and 24.
This event will be huge for the Island Acadian community, said Claudette Thériault, chairwoman of the World Acadian Congress Organizing Committee.
“The congress has a major economic impact in the host communities. It will bring many tourists and visitors to the event. It also has a social and cultural impact, heightening our pride of being Acadian and promoting and showcasing our many Acadian artists,” said Thériault.
Eight P.E.I. communities are scheduled to host congress events, including two of the larger ones: the grand opening in Abram-Village and a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Acadian flag in Miscouche.
There will also be an Arsenault reunion in the Evangeline Area and a Gallant reunion at Port la Joye.
Sister Marie Arsenault is a long-time educator and proponent of the French language on P.E.I., who also attended Wednesday announcement. She is helping to organize the Arsenault reunion.
“It will be a really good experience of belonging, a sense of being recognized, a sense of rejoicing and a sense of survival in spite of many, many obstacles,” she said, regarding the congress.
“It’s really important occasionally to have a celebration of culture, a celebration of ancestry, a celebration of life – and to rejoice in it.”
Premier MacLauchlan said, following the announcement, that the province’s investment was a significant one, but worthwhile.
“It’s a big thing in terms of community building, the cultural importance, the identity and of course the opportunity for visitors to come and all of Prince Edward Island to benefit in that sense,” said MacLauchlan.
Anyone interested in contributing to the congress in terms of sponsorships or volunteering time or resources is encouraged to contact the organizing committee through its website at www.cma2019.ca/fr/contact. A schedule of events is also available there.