Le Festival de Tamarin - A Resounding Success

When the word is "party", the Acadians of the Tor Bay Region will not be outdone. The "joie de vivre" of our people is alive and well and all indicators are such that the future looks good with the significant presence of young souls. Culture and history is becoming increasingly important to everyone and with the coming of le Congrès Mondial des Acadiens in 2004, there is a heightened awareness and appreciation of our past. Things can only get better according to the many participants who braved winter driving to be present for our fantastic Festival de Tamarin. This Festival first began in the mid-1980’s with a three fold purpose and was re-instituted this year with the same purposes in mind. First, to rediscover our roots, secondly, to revive and relive our culture, and thirdly, to break the Winter "blahs". This weekend sure did justice to those aims..

All began on Thursday with a bilingual Opening Mass, celebrated by our Parish Priest, Father Will MacPherson. The Mass ended with the singing of the Acadian National Anthem, Ave Marie Stella. A Wine and Cheese Party followed at the beautifully decorated Parish Centre where photographs and artifacts displays with background acadian music gave an ambiance which was enjoyed by all who attended. Friday saw the arrival of many family visitors and friends just prior to a significant snowstorm, which served to set the stage for a super exposition of local talent at a concert held at the Parish Centre. The pleasant melodies of our young and coming artists set the table for a musical weekend where, too many to mention, contributors shared their talents for all to enjoy. The open-mike "Tintamarre" which followed the concert proved to be a hit and a great outlet for the many talented people present.

Saturday saw many visitors present to view the many displays, which caused people to reminisce by trying to name the many faces and places in the photographs while others chose to read many articles and borrow books made available on local history and the broader story of the Acadian Saga. Geneva Fougere gave a popular workshop in the making of the traditional "Tamarin", while her granddaughters were set up to sell prepared samples of "grand-mère’s" fine foods and labour of love. Presentations were made by the Provincial Coordinator, Delores Boudreau, and by author, Bill Gerrior whose first book on the Gerrior family and the broader acadian tragedy is to be launched in the near future. These presentations were followed with a viewing of a film researched by Louisiana cajuns, Carl Brasseaux and Barry Ancelet, and featuring Zachery Richard, which again traced the history of the Acadians up to, and including the time of the "Grand Dérangement" of 1755. This very informative film captured the attention of all present and served to further develop that understanding and appreciation for who and what we are as a people.

Beginning at 4 P.M., a much appreciated traditional meal of "fayots pis des fish cakes" with beautiful desserts was served by the ladies of the community. With the completion of the daytime activities, everyone returned to their respective shelters to freshen up and "roll down the gum boots" for the "Soirée". Not to be outdone by the previous events, the soirée had to live up to its advanced billing of "the Event", and that it did. A packed hall of "ready to party" people were catapulted into early activity by an unexpected visit from a group of "mi-carêmes". Their antics and beckoning to join their fun and laughter brought the crowd to the floor which remained full until the wee hours of the morning. Again local musicians pleased the musical taste buds of all present as witnessed in a constantly full dance floor. Night soon gave way to morning and all left with a satisfied "do we have to" feeling.

Sunday morning brought more pleasantries to the hearty souls who wished to squeeze yet another bit of life out of this amazing weekend. The men of the community showed their cuisinary abilities in the preparation of a delicious brunch served up by several "Gabriels" wearing acadian aprons, the creation of Grayce Pellerin. "Jusqu’à le Père Will, est venu saucer son pain". The weekend ended in tears and disbelief at the success and the full range of enjoyment by those who attended. This must become an annual event with the first weekend of February the one to mark on the calendar in BIG letters. Below are comments which best summarizes the "Festival de Tamarin".

One teenager: "I had to decide on a basketball tournament or the Festival de Tamarin and I chose the latter. The Festival wins hands down".

Another teenager: "This is a great inspiration to me and the other young people of our community".

A visitor: "Thanks for an unforgettable weekend. We had a time of our lives and we would like to thank your organization for the work you put into preparing this fantastic event".

Another participant: "I want to get involved in the planning and organization of future events and the big one of 2004".

Our visitors from Windsor Ontario and Montreal: "Thank you so much for informing and inviting us to this incredible celebration. How can we not be saddened to leave yet fulfilled? We’ll be back!"

From the organizers: "We’re on the move now! It’s upward and onward to 2004! Vive l’Acadie! Vive les acadiens/ennes de la Région de Tor Baie!"

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