Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival to resume

under the theme “Let’s Celebrate in Style!”

ABRAM-VILLAGE – July 22, 2022 – It’s official: the Evangeline Area Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival will return in its full glory from Sept. 1 to 4, 2022, in Abram-Village. The traditional ambassadors of the event, the characters of Evangeline and Gabriel (Diane and Alfred Arsenault of Abram-Village), invite all Island residents and visitors to participate in the many shows, festivities, dances, exhibits and contests of the weekend, all under the theme “Let’s Celebrate in Style!”

The duo confirms that this is the 119th edition of the Exhibition and the 51st edition of the Festival; the event will obviously pay tribute to the cultural traditions of the local Acadian community but will also feature several components that are quite modern. Here is an overview of the event schedule.

THURSDAY, SEPT. 1

The weekend will begin Thursday with a family night on the fairgrounds from 6 to 8:30 p.m. It will include games, mini parade, lumberjack competition, boot-throwing contest and music for children (who will be accompanied by their parents). An evening of music, dance and games for teenagers (13-18 years) will follow in the Exhibition Barn from 8-11 p.m.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 2

The grounds will open Friday at 8 am. The day will begin with judging of various agricultural categories (grains, vegetables, fruits, crafts, etc.) and miniature horses. In the early afternoon, there will be judging of 4-H projects as well as cooking demonstrations. The official opening ceremony of the weekend will take place at 1:15 p.m. on the main stage and will include a small show with Jeannita Bernard (performing the Festival theme song), the band En Route and other musicians.

The provincial finals of the PEI Youth Talent Competition will take place at 2:30 p.m. on the indoor stage. At the same time, on the outdoor stage, there will be a show by the fantastic magician and illusionist Rémi Boudreau (who will have circulated on the grounds earlier in the afternoon to perform magic tricks here and there). This will be followed by the Provincial Youth Boot Tossing Championships.

The Small Animal Farm will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (as it will be on Saturday and Sunday). The Founders’ Hall and Artisans’ Hall will be open from 2 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday.

The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the “Acadian Feast with Lobster” (Festin acadien avec homard) at the Village musical acadien. Guest Chef Pierre A. Richard of Little Louis’ Oyster Bar in Moncton, NB, will attend. The delicious meal will consist of vegetable soup, galettes blanches, râpure, meatpie, lobster, potato salad and dessert. Entertainment for the evening will be provided by Louise Arsenault and Jonathan Arsenault and well-known host Georges Arsenault. Tickets can be purchased online at https ://fallflavours.ca/signature-event/le-festin/. There is a discount for those who purchase before Aug.1.

The day will end on a wonderful note with the “Djâble dans l’corps” Acadian evening featuring the high-energy country-rock-acadian-cajun music of popular New Brunswick singer Hert LeBlanc. He’ll have everyone up and dancing in no time.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 3

Saturday will begin with the opening of the grounds, again at 8 am. This will be followed at 9 a.m. by draft horse judging, the Acadian Festival Run (at École Évangéline) and the PEI Provincial Holstein Show. The rabbit and pre 4-H class judging will follow. Throughout the day, there will also be potato peeling, lobster eating and knitting contests, as well as demonstrations by the Clammin’ N’ Jammin’ chefs and other culinary demonstrations. Bingo will run throughout the afternoon from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

At 1 p.m., a large new multi-purpose center will be officially opened; the building will serve as the horse barn for the weekend.

Magician Rémi Boudreau will take over the outdoor stage at 1 p.m. There will also be a children’s show at 4 p.m. by Mad Science (Sciences en Folie), which presents scientific experiments with dry ice and elephant toothpaste.

The past will be revisited at 1:30 p.m. during a bilingual talk entitled “Photos from the past in the Evangeline region” by historian Georges Arsenault in the Founders’ Hall. On the main stage in the recreation centre at 2 p.m., attendees will be able to see and hear the wonderful high-energy music of the beautiful and talented Jos Narcisse family.

A woodsmen competition will also begin at 2 p.m. As a special treat, pole climber Jerry Arsenault will come out of retirement to perform a mini solo show, dancing on top of a 100-foot pole and swinging over the heads of the crowd. The Provincial Horse Pulling Championship and the Provincial Adult Boot Tossing Championship will also be featured on the afternoon schedule.

Finally, people will be able to enjoy and dance to the fantastic Acadian music of the group Réveil from New Brunswick (in its 13th appearance at the Festival) during the Évangéline et Gabriel Dance, starting at 10 p.m.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4

The grounds will open to the public on Sunday at 9 a.m. Light horses and ponies will be judged. People will be able to try their luck at axe throwing in a cage. Bingo will be offered in two blocks, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then from 2 to 5:30 p.m.

The famous Festival parade will be back this year Sunday at 1 p.m., running the distance from Evangeline School to the Club 50. The afternoon will continue with oxen judging and the opportunity to test one’s strength with a mallet-and-bell device. The Mad Science show will again take place at 2:30 p.m.

Then at 2:30 p.m., the very popular fiddle and stepdancing show will be presented on the main stage. At the same time, outside, there could be woodsmen competitions (again with special guest, pole climber Jerry Arsenault) as well as fishers’ and firefighters’ competitions.

Also in the afternoon, there will be craft demonstrations, a lobster-eating competition, an all-terrain vehicle competition, a repeat of the historical photo talk with Georges Arsenault, the cow patty bingo, viewing of photos and videos of past exhibitions and festivals in the arena, and finally competitions in fishing line casting, turnip bowling and golf putting. 

At 6:30 p.m., final announcements will be made and various prizes will be presented, including the Young Acadian of the Year Award and Acadian of the Year Award. The weekend will end with a bang at the closing show, themed “Celebrating Our Community.”

PHOTO 1: The traditional characters of Evangeline and Gabriel (Diane and Alfred Arsenault of Abram-Village) invite everyone to participate in the 2022 Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival. They will no doubt be seen walking the grounds here and there throughout the weekend of September 1 to 4.

PHOTO 2: The Thursday evening of the Acadian Festival will be reserved for children and teenagers. A great variety of activities, including races and competitions, will be organized.

PHOTO 3: At a recent Acadian Feast With Lobster (Festin acadien avec homard), held on Saturday night of the Acadian Festival, are, from left, feast-goers Claudette MacQuaid, Monique Arsenault and Carmen (Arsenault) Moore. 

PHOTO 4: Pierre Arsenault of Abram-Village always comes up with some kind of vehicle or mobile contraption of some kind for the Acadian Festival Parade. Last year, for the “reversed parade”, he had assembled this dancing and bouncing Volkswagen.

Magic, music and science to be highlighted

at 2022 Acadian Festival

ABRAM-VILLAGE – July 15, 2022 – As always, the Evangeline Area Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival will entertain its crowds from Sept. 1 to 4 with a great variety of musical performances focusing on Acadian and folk music. But this year, the program will also include fantastic magic shows and mind-blowing science experiments. 

“First of all, we will be pleased to welcome the very popular Acadian magician and illusionist, Rémi Boudreau, who has already performed a few times on the Island. He always mystifies and impresses his audiences with his tricks and magical ways,” says Jeanne Gallant, president of the Exhibition and Festival. “He will be performing two one-hour shows on our main stage at the Evangeline Recreation Centre in Abram-Village on Friday, Sept. 2, at 2:30 p.m. and on Saturday (Sept. 3) at 1 p.m. But earlier on those days, he’ll also be walking the grounds doing smaller magic tricks here and there in the crowd to promote his official shows.”

A native of New Brunswick, this renowned illusionist has a personality that is professional, fun, energetic and comical. Using a large repertoire of illusions, Rémi impresses audiences across Canada with his highly interactive and entertaining show. He personally communicates with his audience to give them an exceptional and unique experience. Having performed over 1,800 shows during his career, Remi has elevated the art of magic to bring this form of entertainment to new heights.

“Imagine an extraordinary world where borrowed objects disappear, reappear and float in the air. Spectators will also witness the appearance of birds to great illusions on the stage. These modern illusions will make you question the perception of reality,” suggests its website.

MAD SCIENCE

The president points out that another new show is coming to the Festival this year: the “Sciences en Folie / Mad Science” shows (Maritime edition). These 45-minute science shows (presented on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 4 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 4 at 2:30 p.m.) are aimed primarily at children and teenagers but are just as educational and entertaining for anyone who wants to learn and be amazed. “Our mission is to inspire children through science, while bringing a touch of imagination and curiosity,” reports their website.

“The experiments you will witness include dry ice, elephant toothpaste and many other experiments to amaze you,” concludes their promotional material.

MUSIC

As for the many musical performances that will take place over the weekend, only a few preliminary details are being revealed to pique everyone’s curiosity.

On Friday, Sept. 2, within the official opening ceremonies at 1:15 p.m., there will be a show to kick off the weekend. Jeannita Bernard, accompanied by the father-daughter duo Gary and Karine Gallant, will first sing the Festival’s theme song and other songs. The duo will also accompany a performance by “En Route”, a group of young girls composed of Mia MacInnes, Ella-Jane Adams and Muireann McGuire. 

This will be followed at 2:30 p.m. by the provincial finals of the PEI Youth Talent Competition, organized in conjunction with the PEI Association of Exhibitions. Winners from the nine regional competitions will compete to determine a provincial champion.

Then there will be wonderful musical entertainment with Louise and Jonathan Arsenault at the “Festin acadien avec homard” dinner at the Village musical acadien at 5:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Sept. 3, the music will continue with a performance by the Jos Narcisse family at 2 p.m. on the main stage. Expect lots of fiddle tunes, stepdancing and lots of singing. The show will feature members of the older generation – Louise Arsenault (Gadelle, Les Girls, Barachois), Zelma Arsenault and Norman Gallant. Then there will be some of their children (like Jonathan Arsenault and Angie Arsenault) and their cousins, and even some members of the third generation. 

The tradition of the Sunday afternoon fiddling concert, which dates back more than half a century, will absolutely continue this year. Starting at 2:30 p.m., a host of fiddlers will take the main stage to entertain the crowd with their traditional Acadian, Scottish and Irish tunes. Many stepdancers will also be dancing to these wonderful sounds.

The weekend will conclude with the Festival’s fantastic closing show that will reflect the theme “Celebrating Our Community”. It will be a celebration of local talent, especially the artists who have shined this past year. Paul D. Gallant will be in charge of the artistic direction of the show, so everyone can expect quite a show. 

PHOTO 1: Rémi Boudreau, the Acadian magician and illusionist from New Brunswick, will present two shows on the Acadian Festival stage as well as mini-shows on the Exhibition grounds on Sept. 2 and 3.

PHOTO 2: The Maritime edition of Mad Science / Sciences en Folie will present two shows of fantastic science experiments for children on Sept. 3 and 4 in Abram-Village.

PHOTO 3: Several generations of the Jos Narcisse family, including the children of Alyre à Jos Narcisse Gallant (Norman Gallant, Louise Arsenault and Zelma Arsenault), will present a wonderful show of music, dance and song the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 3.

PHOTO 4: Ella-Jane Adams, Mia MacInnes and Muireann McGuire, who make up the group “En Route”, will perform on Friday, Sept.2 during the official opening of the Evangeline Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival.

Competitions and contests of all kinds 

slated for Acadian Festival

Pole climber Jerry Arsenault returns for two mini-shows

ABRAM-VILLAGE – July 20, 2022 – The Evangeline Area Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival will offer all kinds of friendly competitions and contests on the weekend of Sept. 2-4 in Abram-Village. Some competitions will invite the public to participate while others will be organized for entertainment purposes.

One of the regular and most popular competitions of the weekend, the woodsmen competition, will be held Saturday, Sept. 3, at 2 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 4 at 2:30 p.m. This competition is for people who work in the field and are used to using the tools in question. Competitions such as axe throwing, splitting blocks of wood with axes, cutting logs with mechanical and manual saws, lighting fires to boil water, etc., can be expected. Participants’ times will be tabulated; the woodsmen who complete their runs in the fastest times over the two days will win prizes.

During a break between the competitions on Saturday and Sunday, visitors will be happy to see beloved pole climber Jerry Arsenault. This renowned woodsman and tree topper has agreed to come out of retirement for a very brief time to do two solo mini-shows. He will climb the 100-foot pole, dance on top to the sounds of “Cotton-Eye Joe” and slide down the wire over the heads of the crowd. 

Sunday afternoon’s firefighters’ competition will feature a relay race. Wellington firefighters will be racing to dress in heavy vests, pants, helmets and fire boots; rolling, unrolling and carrying long fire hoses; rescuing “victims”; going through walls and tunnels, and other such activities. Once again, prizes will be awarded to those who complete the race in the least amount of time.

The Sunday afternoon lobster fishers’ competition will again include a timed race with several components. For example, professional fishers may have to pull a lobster trap attached to a long rope, transfer by hand a long rope from one tub to another, catch buoys with a gaff, and put rubber pegs on wooden lobster claws. The fishers who complete the race in the least amount of time will win prizes.

Here is a brief overview of the other contests, most of which are open to anyone who would like to enter. Each offers a series of prizes to be won.

Friday

  • Provincial Youth Boot Throwing Championship (4 p.m.)

Saturday

  • Acadian Festival Run at École Évangéline (9 a.m.). Participants will have the option of running (or walking) either 5 km, 10 km or 21.1 km (a half marathon).
  • Potato peeling contest (1 p.m.)
  • Lobster eating contest (1:30 p.m.)
  • Knitting contest (2 p.m.)
  • Provincial Adult Boot Throwing Championship (4 p.m.)

Sunday

  • Axe Throwing in a special cage (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2-6 p.m.)
  • Lobster eating competition (3:30 p.m.)
  • All-terrain vehicle pulling competition at the back of the fairgrounds, organized by the Evangeline ATV Club (3:30 p.m.)
  • Fish line casting contest (5:30 p.m.)
  • Turnip bowling contest (6:00 p.m.)
  • Golf putting contest (6:30 p.m.)

PHOTO 1: Two Wellington firefighters drag a rescued “victim” during the 2021 firefighters’ relay race. The firefighter competition will return to the Festival this year.

PHOTO 2: Jerry Arsenault will come out of retirement to perform two solo pole climber mini-shows at the 2022 Festival during the woodsmen competition Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3 and 4.

PHOTO 3: The Acadian Festival Run will take place at École Évangéline Saturday, Sept. 3, at 9 am. Participants will have the option to run or walk 5, 10 or 21.1 km. 

PHOTO 4: Two young fishermen’s helpers were competing against each other as they tried to put rubber pegs on wooden lobster claws during the 2021 contest.

PHOTO 5: Two teams of young woodsmen attempt to saw “the old-fashioned way” on large wooden beams during the 2021 Acadian Festival contest.

New multifunctional center to be inaugurated

during 2022 Agricultural Exhibition

ABRAM-VILLAGE – July 26, 2022 – The exhibition portion of the 2022 Evangeline Area Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival will be special this year as a new 104-foot long by 44-foot wide multi-purpose center will be inaugurated. The official opening will take place on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 1 p.m. in front of the centre’s entrance.

The new building will be able to accommodate all kinds of activities at various times of the year, but during the weekend of the show, it will be used to house the horses that will be on site for various competitions. In fact, the beautiful building, whose front and back gables are in the colors of the Acadian flag, is installed on the same site as the former horse barn. 

Other new attractions this year include a “strength tester” built by Melvin and Jean Gallant of St. Timothy. It is a vertical device with a bell near the top. One has to hit the bottom of the device with a mallet as hard as possible to try to make the bell ring, just as was seen at old-time carnivals and exhibitions.

Another new feature that will revisit the past will be a talk entitled “Photos of Yesteryear of the Evangeline Region” by historian Georges Arsenault on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 1:30 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 4 at 3:30 p.m., in the Founders’ Hall. On Sunday, before the closing show, several images and videos from the 119 years of the Agricultural Exhibition and the 51 years of the Acadian Festival will be shown on the big screen in the Evangeline Recreation Centre.

EVALUATIONS AND ACTIVITIES

All regular facets of the Agricultural Exhibition are back this year, except for the poultry judging. Provincial restrictions prohibit these competitions to prevent the transmission of avian flu.

The Small Animal Farm will be open all weekend (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday to Sunday). The Founders’ Hall and Artisans’ Hall will open Friday at 2 p.m. and will be open from 10 a.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. on Sunday. Culinary demonstrations will be held Friday and Saturday at 1 p.m. Chefs from the Clammin’ N’ Jammin’ evening will also provide culinary demonstrations Saturday at noontime.

On Friday, Sept. 2, starting at 9 a.m., judging of grains, roots, vegetables, fruit, flowers, arts, crafts and domestic sciences will take place. In the afternoon, 4-H projects will be evaluated. 

A draft horse show takes place Saturday morning; followed by the judging of rabbits. The PEI Provincial Holstein Show, considered the most important competition of the exhibition, kicks off at 9 a.m. In the afternoon, the pre 4-H classes as well as the 4-H rabbits will be judged.

On Sunday, there will be light horse and pony judging in the morning and beef judging in the afternoon. This will be followed by a craft sale and craft demonstrations in the afternoon. Finally, at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, the famous “Cow Patty Bingo” will be held.

PHOTO 1: Jeanne Gallant, president of the Evangeline Area Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival, proudly presents the new multifunctional center with its Acadian flag-colored gables, which will be inaugurated Sept. 3rd.

PHOTO 2: Melvin and his son Jean Gallant show off the new strength testing machine they built. They invite everyone to come and try to ring the bell. 

At the Acadian Festival dances:

13th time for Réveil and 2nd time for Hert LeBlanc

ABRAM-VILLAGE – July 15, 2022 – Those who love to dance to the sounds of vibrant Acadian music – essentially a combination of country, rock, folk and Cajun – will be well completely satisfied the weekend of the Evangeline Region’s Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival in Abram-Village in early September, after two long years of waiting. Hert LeBlanc and his band will be back for a second year while the band Réveil will be back for a 13th time, both to play at the Festival’s dances on Sept. 2 and 3 respectively.

“People continue to tell us how much they have missed these dances over the past two years, so we are very proud to be able to proceed with our two dances this year, while observing the health measures that may be in place at that time,” says Exhibition and Festival president Jeanne Gallant. 

HERT LEBLANC – FRIDAY

Hert LeBlanc – the very popular Acadian-Cajun-country-blues-rock ’n’ roll singer from Bouctouche, New Brunswick, played a few dances at the Festival when he was part of the supergroup Bois-Joli. As a solo artist (accompanied by several musicians), he played at one of the non-dance music nights last year; his show was greatly appreciated. So technically, this is his first time playing his own music at a Festival dance – the “Djâble dans l’corps” evening on Friday, Sept. 2, starting at 10 p.m. in the Evangeline Recreation Centre in Abram-Village. (Doors open at 9 p.m.)

Hert has recorded nine popular albums and has had the opportunity to play throughout the Maritimes and Quebec. Earlier in his 30+ year musical career, he founded several other bands: Sweet Temptation, Countrified and then Hert & The Running Rebels.

RÉVEIL – SATURDAY

The very popular band Réveil, from southeastern New Brunswick, is already celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, it would most likely be its 15th time at the Acadian Festival. But this is the group’s lucky 13th appearance in Abram-Village. 

The band will be entertaining the crowd full speed ahead during the Evangeline and Gabriel Dance on Saturday, Sept. 2nd, starting at 10 p.m., again at the Evangeline Recreation Center. According to the band’s promotional material, the band provides “100 percent French music, a traditional Acadian feel and an energetic show that promises to get people dancing!”

Recognized as one of Acadia’s most popular musical groups, Réveil is now composed of Matt Hayes on fiddle, Joey McKinnon on drums, Marc Léger on bass, Nancy Blanchard on vocals, Brian Hébert on electric guitar, Kevin Arsenault on vocals and acoustic guitar and Richard Bourque on mandolin, acoustic guitar and banjo. 

Over the years, Réveil has recorded four albums: Sans problème (2007), Ah! Qu’il fait beau! (2009), On y va!!! (2012) and Allez, buvez (2016). The original songs on the albums were written by the brother-sister duo of Kevin Arsenault and Nancy Blanchard. Their music has been played extensively on francophone radio stations in the Atlantic region and their presence is a must at any major celebration in Acadia and the Magdalen Islands.

PHOTO 1: Hert LeBlanc and his band are ready to inject a ton of Acadian musical energy into the “Djâble dans l’corps” soirée on Friday, Sept. 2nd, starting at 10 p.m.

PHOTO 2: The band Réveil will celebrate its 15th anniversary as well as its 13th appearance at the Acadian Festival when it plays at the Évangéline and Gabriel Dance on Saturday, Sept. 3rd, starting at 10 p.m. The band is made up of (from left) Matt Hayes (fiddle), Joey Mckinnon (drums), Marc Léger (bass), Nancy Blanchard (vocals), Brian Hébert (electric guitar), Kevin Arsenault (vocals/acoustic guitar) and Richard Bourque (mandolin/acoustic guitar/banjo).