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Clare Acadian festival kicks off Saturday, July 27

Acadian colours, music and smiles added to the festivities as part of this parade entry during last year’s Clare festival.
Acadian colours, music and smiles added to the festivities as part of this parade entry during last year’s Clare festival. - Tina Comeau

If Clare’s Acadian festival was a person, he (or she) would be just a year away from retirement age, given that this is the festival’s 64th year, but retirement is nowhere in sight for the region’s oldest Acadian festival.

This year’s festival dates are July 27 to Aug. 3, with Aug. 15 – National Acadian Day – also considered part of the festival.

The event continues to bring people together each summer, including locals and people who perhaps are from Clare and have moved away but who like being back home at festival time, says Daniel LeBlanc, the Clare Acadian festival’s executive director and artistic director.

“We’re happy to be one of the events that does bring people from Clare and from outside (the region) to celebrate the French Acadian culture,” he said. “We’re the longest-running Acadian festival in the world. This is our 64th edition. We’re the oldest. We’re proud to have that title and proud to have people from everywhere come celebrate.”

Indeed, the theme of this year’s festival parade is “Acadie/Acadians from around the world.”

The parade – always one of the festival’s biggest activities – will take place Sunday, July 28, starting at 1:30 p.m. in Little Brook, with the finish at Université Sainte-Anne, where the festival’s annual bazaar will be held the same day.

(A children’s parade is scheduled for Tuesday, July 30.)

As before, the festival offers a variety of things to do and see, and music again figures prominently on the festival schedule, from an opening-night show featuring local artists on Saturday, July 27, to the Grou Tyme concert scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 3.

The latter event will feature performances by Zachary Richard, Bois Joli, Cy and DJ Arthur Comeau.

More music will come later, on National Acadian Day (Thursday, Aug. 15), when Beauphare, Brian Amirault and La Baie en Joie will perform.

Aug. 15 also is the day of the Tintamarre, essentially an Acadian celebration where participants are invited to make noise as a show of cultural pride.

For the main week of the festival, there will be some of the usual activities – including dinner theatre, wine night, fiddle night, among other things – while a new one this year is mini-kart racing, which is scheduled for Saturday, July 27, the festival’s opening day.

For a detailed schedule of festival activities, click here.

Meanwhile, although the focus for now is on this year’s festival, LeBlanc says there is a sense of anticipation about what’s coming down the road, given that the Municipality of Clare – in conjunction with the Municipality of Argyle – will host the Congrès mondial acadien in 2024.

“Everybody is pumped,” he said. “Everybody is excited to have that, so it’s going to be a big thing for us.”

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