August 22, 2003
Three traditional artists from the St. John Valley will lend a hand in the opening event of the University of Maine at Fort Kent's 125th anniversary celebration today (Wednesday, August 27) at the Acadian Village in Van Buren.
Floreda Parker of Frenchville, who spins wool; Lionel Doucette of Madawaska, who plays the fiddle; and Kimberlee Parent of Fort Kent who has recently learned to braid rugs from master rug braider Bertha Voisine, will each demonstrate their talents on the village grounds before, during and after "Opening Day 1878", the re-enactment of the first day of classes at the Madawaska Training School in 1878.
The event is being staged by the University of Maine at Fort Kent as a kick-off to a year filled with festivities to commemorate the special anniversary of the St. John Valley educational institution.
"UMFK has always served the Valley as a center for cultural and performing arts. It is most fitting that these three talented artists join in the opening event. We are looking forward to a wonderful afternoon," said Jason Parent, chairperson of the university's 125th anniversary planning committee.
In addition to spinning wool herself, Parker teaches the traditional art, offering private instruction and group classes.
Doucette, is a well-known fiddler, who frequently plays the instrument at public events, including recently at UMFK's historic double groundbreaking.
Parent, a native of the Halifax, Nova Scotia area, has learned how to rug braid over the past several months. To date she has completed nine rugs, many of them while working at the Acadian Village, demonstrating her talent to visitors on Sundays this summer.
In addition to her demonstration at the Acadian Village this Wednesday, Parent will continue to demonstrate rug braiding on Sunday, August 31; Sunday, September 7 and Sunday, September 14, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day.
"Opening Day 1878", will begin at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday at the Acadian Village with the re-enactment followed by an unveiling of a new history exhibit which tells the story of UMFK using nine different kiosks.
The public is invited and encouraged to attend the event.