The Fort Kent historical train station located on Market Street in Fort Kent features memorabilia and exhibits on the history of the area, with special focus on lumber and agriculture, which have been primary sources of commerce in the Fort Kent area for decades. The historical site is open to the public beginning mid-June, from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
Located on Main Street, the Ste-Agathe Historical Society building opens mid-June to Labor Day weekend, with a variety of displays and exhibits of the every day life of St. John Valley living. The historical site is open in the afternoon on Tuesdays through Saturdays.
The Madawaska Historical Society boasts three historical buildings on the society grounds. No admission fee is charged. Visitors from the Valley and from miles away may view the Tante Blanche Museum, which houses historical artifacts from the area. During the summer, a local historian in the Tante Blanche Museum is available to answer questions and to also give a tour of the grounds.
Also on the Historical Society grounds is the Madawaska School District No. 1 house, which is the only schoolhouse left in the area from the 19th century. The schoolhouse is filled with artifacts, textbooks, and other scholastic treasures from the time period.
The final historical building on the grounds is the Albert House, which holds many of the society’s housekeeping implements and religious artifacts, including baby cribs, kitchen artifacts, and beds, among other things.
The Acadian Village in Van Buren is the biggest historical site in the St. John Valley. Open from June 15 to Sept. 15, the village features houses, a train station, a chapel, a blacksmith shop, a schoolhouse, and general store, all from the 1800s. For $6 per adult and $3 per child, interested tourists and locals can tour the historical site and get a taste of what life in the St. John Valley was like centuries ago.
Historical sites are not the only things the St. John Valley offers during the summer months. The Valley features a slew of festivals, starting with the Jazz Festival in Edmundston, N.B. from Wednesday, June 20 to Saturday, June 23. The 17th annual festival will feature jazz and blues artists and bands. Passes into the event will be $25 for the four days or $10 per day.
Rock the Valley is another music festival that has become popular in the St. John Valley. The two-day music festival takes place Friday, June 29 and Saturday, June 30 at the Multi Purpose Center in Madawaska. This year, the festival will feature tributes to Foreigner, Fleetwood Mac, and Black Sabbath, as well as many local bands from around the area. Weekend passes are $25 and nightly passes are $15.
The Wesget Sipu Pow Wow will take place from Friday, July 6 to Sunday, July 8 at Riverside Park in Fort Kent. The Pow Wow will allow people to get a first-hand look at the history and creativity of the Fish River tribe, and will feature jewelry, paintings, and foods all created by members of the tribe.
Frenchville will hold its first Le Festival Chautauqua this year from Saturday, Aug. 4 to Sunday, Aug. 5. The festival will take place at the town park and community center and will boast a barbecue, and food and craft vendors. Musical performances will follow throughout the weekend.
The 34th Foire Brayonne will take place from Wednesday, Aug. 1 to Sunday, Aug. 5 in Edmundston.
“The Foire,” as it is termed by most Valley residents, features musical entertainment and native cuisine throughout the weekend. Both weekend and day passes will go on sale as the event nears.
Also on deck for this summer is the Acadian Festival in Madawaska. This year’s festival will take place from Thursday, Aug. 9 to Sunday, Aug. 12, and will feature a family fun day, the annual “Party du Main Street,” and music all weekend. Also during that weekend will be the 7th annual Madawaska art show.
Fort Kent will host its annual Muskie Derby and Ploye Festival on Friday, Aug. 10 to Sunday, Aug. 12. The festivities will include making of the world’s largest ploye, craft vendors, fireworks, food vendors, and hundreds of anglers vying for prizes.