Chautauqua: Celebrating rich history of ‘area where river widens’
by Monique Labbe, Recreation and Sports Reporter
Aug 03, 2012 | 840 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
These festive Acadian fences are crafted by Eileen Belanger of Fort Kent. Here they are on display at Misty Meadows Organic Farm in Grand Isle, which is owned by Belanger's sister Sharon Dionne and her husband Jim. - SJVT photo / Don Eno
These festive Acadian fences are crafted by Eileen Belanger of Fort Kent. Here they are on display at Misty Meadows Organic Farm in Grand Isle, which is owned by Belanger's sister Sharon Dionne and her husband Jim. - SJVT photo / Don Eno
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Secretary Casey Cote and President Ann Marie Guerrette, two members of the Le Festival Chautauqua committee, hold a map of the village of Chautauqua, dated 1844.
- SJVT file photo
Secretary Casey Cote and President Ann Marie Guerrette, two members of the Le Festival Chautauqua committee, hold a map of the village of Chautauqua, dated 1844. - SJVT file photo
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Aug. 1 edition: FRENCHVILLE – Frenchville will host its first Le Festival Chautauqua on Saturday, Aug. 4 and Sunday, Aug. 5 at the Frenchville Community Center and the Frenchville Park, both located side-by-side on Main Street and U.S. Route 1.

The festival will celebrate the rich history of “Chautauqua,” the locale that was settled by the early people who developed the area, and that is now home to Frenchville.

The term “Chautauqua” refers to the watershed, and was inspired by the wide section of the St. John River as it enters Frenchville from the west, where it flows around seasonally flooded islands and riverside flats before a sharp turn that leads the river between Frenchville and St. Hilaire, New Brunswick.

Members of Le Festival Chautauqua committee include president AnnMarie Guerrette, secretary Casey Cote, and treasurer Nancy Dube, along with several volunteers.

Originally, the Chautauqua area consisted of both sides of the St. John River, where Frenchville and Baker Brook now stand. Acadian refugees settled the area in 1785, and French Canadians settled in the 1820s and 1830s.

The Chautauqua Festival will feature displays and demonstrations throughout the weekend, which will provide insight into the people, places and events that built up the Chautauqua area into what is now Frenchville.

A static hot air balloon display will take place from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday at the park, weather permitting. There will also be wood carving, snowshoe making, wool spinning, and rug making displays going on from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the park on Saturday.

At the same time, an antique car show will take place at the American Legion, also from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Frenchville Historical Society will host an open house at the caboose and water tower on Route 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. The historic Wiley House across the road will have its grand opening at the same time.

There will also be several ceremonies going on throughout the day on Saturday, including the grand opening of the Frenchville Park at 11 a.m., as well as the Chautauqua logo competition awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Several musical groups will preform, including the Roy family band from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., the Bernier family from 1 to 2 p.m., Lionel Doucette from 3 to 4 p.m., and Les Chanteurs Acadien from 4 to 5 p.m.

The Christian Youth Ministry will serve an Acadian meal from 4 to 7 p.m., with further musical entertainment by Centerline to close out the evening. The band will play until 11 p.m., with a beer garden sponsored by Dolly’s Restaurant.

The festival will come to a close on Sunday, Aug. 5 with a parade at 1 p.m., which will start at the Frenchville town office and finish at the Frenchville Park.

For information, write to festivalchautauqua@gmail.com.