Communities, particularly businesses have begun reaping the economic rewards from CMA tourists. Shawn Cunningham reports on how some merchants are profiting from cultural pride.
Jim Belanger and his wife Sandy are looking for niche (NITCH) gifts and décor to celebrate the World Acadian Congress.They came from New Hampshire and won’t leave the county without buying several souveneirs.
“We were brought up here as Acadians so the Acadian heritage is strong in our family,” says Belanger.
“It makes you proud to have roots and come home and see people and its nice to read about all our heritage,” adds Sandy St. Pierre-Belanger.
Acadian décor can be seen throughout Main Street in Van Buren.
Joan Beaulieu is a Van Buren Resident and says “its unreal we’ve met so many people who go on and on and on about how this place is decorated up and everything…”
The decorations are not only well displayed…but according to local merchants being well sold. Stores are selling eclectic and unsual finds of all kinds. They say if you see something, you’d better buy it now or it’ll be bought up by some other STARRY EYED CMA visitor.
Phyllis Belanger is a CMA Participant and adds “well I figured I’d put this on my front lawn and I’m Acadian and proud of it.”
Tammy Michaud is the Owner, Health, Wellness and Gift Shop and says “we weren’t sure what was gonna happen this is the first event that we’d experience so we had to just get creative and get some ideas going and have fun with it. ”
Joyce Hall is another Van Buren resident and says “oh my GOD its like I’m telling my dad I’m here…”
(SHAWN CUNNINGHAM ON CAMERA STANDUP)
“CMA attendees are converging on this region from all over. it’s a reunion that’s promoting cultural pride and its giving local businesses a chance to rake in the green by promoting red, white, blue and gold.”
Edna Pelletier is the Owner, Edna’s Floral Arrangements and adds “This festival has really done good for the businesses I was part of the decorating crew in town and we did a lot the Van Buren spirit is really high everywhere.”
Shirley Hanson adds “yeah, I think so, I’m hoping it will attract more business hope people will want to buy stuff from us.”
SC: “why is it important to want to celebrate your culture?”
PB: because I think we all need to know our roots and its important to look back at the people who were hardy enough to make this country what it is..”
And what it is, IS a colorful way to wear your Acadian pride.