The Acadian Games organizing committee and the City of Charlottetown welcomed more than 1,100 athletes and officially kicked off the Jeux de l’Acadie de 2015 (Acadian Games) at the Opening Ceremony held at the Eastlink Centre on Saturday, June 27.
The delegations marched into the Eastlink Centre to an enthusiastic welcome by spectators, hundreds of volunteers and special guests, including: PEI Lieutenant Governor Frank Lewis, PEI Premier Wade MacLauchlan, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant, Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee and many others.
This year marks the first time the Games have ever been hosted in the Capital City. Mayor Lee had the honour of officially declaring the opening of the Games at Saturday night’s ceremony. He had a special message for the Games’ participants.
"You are surrounded by supporters – hundreds of volunteers, the organizers of the Games, spectators and many, many community partners and sponsors. There are so many people standing behind you and we want you to know that our support continues even after the Acadian Games are over," Mayor Lee said. "We are here to not only encourage you in your sport of choice, but also to encourage you in all of your future endeavours. We wish you much success."
Contemporary Acadian traditional group Vishtèn performed during the ceremony and the Acadian anthem sung during the Parade of Flags added an emotional touch to the event. The lighting the flame tradition was completed after the athletes, officials and coaches made their oath and a balloon drop, amid cheers of excitement from the participants, completed the night.
"Tonight was all about making the participants feel welcomed and for us to showcase the best PEI has to offer," said Emile Gallant, Chairperson of the Acadian Games. "This event is made possible by the more than 600 volunteers who responded to our call, came forward and are now showing participants our well-known PEI hospitality."
The Acadian Games includes sporting and cultural events, which are taking place at various locations in Charlottetown, including: the Eastlink Centre, University of Prince Edward Island, CARI Complex, Colonel Gray and Charlottetown Rural high schools, Simmons Sports Centre, East and West Royalty soccer fields, and Holland College.
More than a thousand youth aged 11-16 years from the four Atlantic Provinces and the Magdalen Islands are competing in a range of disciplines, including: track and field, para-track and field, badminton, soccer, volleyball, mountain biking, mini handball, ultimate Frisbee and hockey-kayak. The cultural events are a new component of the Games this year and include improvisation and a Battle of the Bands event. The Games will wrap up on June 30.
For more information, visit: 2015.jeuxdelacadie.org.
Communications and Media Relations
2015 Acadian Games
City of Charlottetown