Wedgeport Acadian festival starts July 27

Published on July 24, 2014

Lectures, a lob-ball tournament and a songwriters’ circle are all part of this year’s Wedgeport Acadian festival, which opens July 27 and goes to Aug. 3.

This is the 32nd year for the Wedgeport festival.

Festival activities for 2014 will enable people to see and learn about local wild plants, hear about the history of commercial tuna fishing in the Wesgeport area, take in a songwriters circle featuring local musicians and watch teams of Acadian families take part in the festival’s annual lob-ball event.

Songwriters’ circle

On tap first for this year’s Wedgeport festival is a songwriters’ circle with Julian Babin, Bill d’Entremont, Gilbert Surette, Wendell and Philip d’Eon.

This is scheduled for Sunday, July 27, at 7 p.m. at the Wedgeport school.

The evening also will include performances by the duo of Alyssa LeBlanc and Chelsea Nickerson, as well as the Fitzgerald sisters, Natasha and Melony. These four participated in the 2013 festival concert, where Julian Babin was the headliner.

This year’s concert also will serve as a second launch for Babin’s new CD, Sept chansons françaises, which was first launched this past March.

The concert will be held on the eve of the day – July 28 – that marks the anniversary of the Acadian Deportation.

Discover local wild plants

The festival continues with an event led by Chester Muise, who on Monday, July 28, will speak about local wild plants. Although his festival talks usually are held at the Wedgeport museum, this year Muise will speak at the Club social des Isles on Surette’s Island, his home village.

He invites people to join him at the club for a presentation that will start at 1:30 p.m. Later in the afternoon he will lead a two-kilometre walk in the woods to get a look at the plants.

Always learning about the people and nature of his native island and the webs weaved with the surrounding area, Muise did extensive research and published the Muise family genealogy for the World Acadian Congress of 2004.

Lecture on Wedgeport-area commercial tuna fishing

Donnie Jacquard, a regular speaker during the Wedgeport festival on Acadian life, will give a lecture this year on commercial tuna fishing of the Wedgeport area. That is the fishing by harpoon and weir before the world famous sport tuna-fishing era that began in 1935 with Michael Lerner of New York and his personal guide Tommy Gifford.

The talk will be given at the Wedgeport Sport Tuna Fishing Museum and Interpretive Centre Wednesday July 30, at 2 p.m. in English and 7 p.m. in French.

In his latest book, which is on Wedgeport history, Jacquard writes that in 1911-1912 34,000 pounds of tuna were landed in Wedgeport. There were many Wedgeport fishermen harpooning tuna. There were also some from Surette’s Island across the Tusket River from Wedgeport.  They continued to do so during the sport-fishing era.

A retired teacher and principal, Jacquard was the coordinator of the second genealogy book of the Wedgeport parish, which at one time included Comeau’s Hill and Pinkney’s Point Parishes. He was also involved in the first book published in 1992 under the direction of Father Léo Maillet, who had done much research.

Lob-ball tournament

Will the Pothier family win again and receive the Coupe Maringouin – the trophy presented by the sponsors of the festival’s lob-ball tournament: Del Agency Limited and Assumption Life?

The Pothier family team is going for a fourth straight title in an Acadian family lob-ball event that is scheduled to take place from July 31 to Aug. 3.

Men’s and women’s home-run competitions are held during the tournament.