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Clare Acadian festival opens July 28 as municipality celebrates its 250th anniversary

Acadian pride on display during a past Clare Acadian festival.
Acadian pride on display during a past Clare Acadian festival. - Contributed

CLARE, N.S. – With the Municipality of Clare marking its 250th anniversary this year, one of the signature events of the 2018 Clare Acadian festival will commemorate this milestone in the area’s history.

This year’s festival parade – scheduled for Sunday, July 29 – has Clare 250 as its theme. The parade will get underway at 1:30 p.m., following a route that starts behind Rug Shack (1002 Highway 1) in Little Brook and ends at Université Sainte-Anne (1695 Highway 1) in Church Point.

The parade, along with the bazaar on the university grounds – also taking place July 29 – always is one of the festival highlights, but there are others, including the opening-day concert (Saturday, July 28), which this year will pay tribute to local musicians. This event, which includes the festival’s opening ceremony, will be held at Université Sainte-Anne, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Indeed, musical entertainment figures prominently on the festival schedule, as it does every year.

“Music has always been a big part of what we do,” said Daniel LeBlanc, the festival’s artistic director and executive director.

The festival’s other notable musical offerings include Louisiana Night, which will be held Friday, Aug. 3, at the Clare Veterans Centre in Saulnierville, where the Louisiana group Choupique will perform. This is billed as a Cajun-theme evening of food and music.

The following night – Saturday, Aug. 4 – at Université Sainte-Anne it’s the festival’s Grou Tyme concert, featuring performances by Cayouche and Méchants Maquereaux from New Brunswick and by the Radiaters, a local group.

Another musical evening is planned for Wednesday, Aug. 15, National Acadian Day, when La Virée from New Brunswick and La Baie en Joie dancers from Clare will perform at Université Sainte-Anne.

The activities of Aug. 15 – from a flag-raising ceremony in the morning at the Clare municipal building to the concert that night at the university – are considered part of the Clare Acadian festival, although most festival events will take place between July 28 and Aug. 4.

The activity lineup for Aug. 15 includes the evening’s Tintamarre, a tradition of marching or driving through the community making noise in celebration of National Acadian Day.

Said LeBlanc, referring to the Tintamarre, “It’s very family-oriented. A lot of people come to that ... We see a lot of pride and a lot of people come and show the colours and celebrate.”

As for the festival’s main week, LeBlanc says the dinner theatre is very popular, with a number of sold-out dates for this year. A more recent addition to the festival – introduced last year – is a square-dancing activity.

“We’re hoping that that’s going to be something popular that we can keep doing,” he said.

Whether it’s square dancing or dinner theatre, the festival again has something for just about everyone.

“There is something for all ages,” LeBlanc said. “We’re pretty conscious of that and we try to provide stuff for (everybody).”

This is the 63rd year for the Clare Acadian festival and LeBlanc expects the area’s 250th anniversary will have a positive impact on the level of interest and participation in this year’s festival.

“People from Clare that live outside, they’re going to come back,” he said, “and we always like to see these folks come back and celebrate here in Clare.”

Festival includes Acadian Day

• The Clare Acadian festival dates for 2018 are July 28 to Aug. 4 and Aug. 15.

• National Acadian Day is Wednesday, Aug. 15, and that day’s activities are part of the festival.

• The day will include a flag-raising ceremony, picnic, Tintamarre and concert.

• For a detailed festival schedule, visit www.festivalacadiendeclare.ca

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