ABRAM-VILLAGE — People with Acadian roots from all over the world were greeted as they travelled into Abram-Village this weekend with immense Acadian-themed paintings, a variety of stalls, and even a whole house painted like the Acadian flag.
The official opening ceremony of the Acadian World Congress 2019 gathered thousands inside the Evangeline Recreation Centre, Saturday evening.
Among the dignitaries opening the ceremony was premier Dennis King, who participated in the moonlit run across Confederation Bridge to mark the opening of the sixth edition of the Congrès mondial acadien (CMA) on Friday night.
“It was lovely to run under the stars, but it was a bit of a grind because I haven’t been running very much but I’m glad to have participated and finished,” said King.
“But this whole event,” he continued, “just demonstrates the very best of who we are as Islanders – we roll out the red carpet. It’s embedded into Islanders to be kind and welcoming to friends old and new. And I’m not the least surprised that the congress was held here (Abram-Village).
“When you drive through the community, everyone is showing support and pride for their culture. It’s just inspiring, and the very best of who we are as Islanders,” King said.
Eliza Cormier and her sister Della LeBlanc came from Memramcook, N.B., dressed in traditional Acadian attire with aprons covered in signatures and family emblems. The pair attracted a lot of positive attention for getting into the full spirit of Acadia with their clothing.
“Our mom loved the Acadian days and she inspired us with these outfits,” said LeBlanc while pointing to a picture of her mother (Julienne LeBlanc) on the promotional material. “Our aprons have signatures from around the world collected from similar events. We wear them like souvenirs, and I can feel mom is with us right now.”
On Cormier’s Acadian-themed apron included seven yellow stars as a symbol of the seven siblings.
Even a short but heavy downpour and crack of lightning and thunder couldn’t stop people from enjoying the festivities.
“The feeling here is festive. People are not in their houses, everyone is outside, in the street, everyone expecting things to be booming in the village, and there’s a collective feeling of being together. It feels like a lively party,” said Alex Cyr, who participated in the midnight run across Confederation Bridge with his sister Myriam.
The two came back Saturday to take part in the opening ceremonies for the congress.
“It’s cool for us because once we graduated high school we left P.E.I.,” said Alex. “I now study in Toronto and my sister (Myriam) is in Sherbrooke for school, so we come back to the Island for the summer and this event is like a family reunion.”
Myriam said the CMA is much larger than she expected.
“I’ve been working for this organization (CMA) for two summers now, and seeing the whole progress come to this is amazing.”
She said she was especially looking forward to some music, and the return of Acadian folk band, Barachois.
"(They) reunited especially for this congress. Our family has such good memories of them performing, so we are very excited to watch them tonight on stage. Plus, our mom is step-dancing later.”
For a full list of events planned for the Congrès mondial acadien, visit www.cma2019.ca.