The World Acadian Congress wrapped up on the Acadian Peninsula in northeastern New Brunswick Sunday night, following 17 days of cultural celebration.

About 50,000 visitors participated in the event, which is held every five years and is the largest gathering of Acadians in the world. Many say they'll remember the warmth of the people and the strength of their culture.

Brigitte Aubé, who travelled from northern Alberta, wasn't disappointed.

"Oh my God, decorations, you cannot miss them ... They are everywhere ... for the l'Acadie there, so as far as decorations, nothing can compare to it."

Tom Landry, who travelled from near Ann Arbor, Mich., with his family, was equally pleased.

He attended the Landry reunion on Saturday — one of more than 90 family reunions that form the backbone of the gathering. Landry doesn't speak French but felt at home in Caraquet.

"There isn't a language barrier when you're with family, and so it's been a real experience and one in which we can show to our granddaughter some of the history of our family," said Landry.

"Even though my granddaughter's only 11, this'll be a lasting memory and hopefully one that she'll carry on and participate on in future years."

'I stopped and I almost cried'

People from the Acadian Peninsula have also deemed the event a success.

One of the organizers, Marie Joelle Bergeron, said seeing 50,000 people in the streets of Caraquet on the Acadian National Holiday is something she will never forget.

"I stopped and I almost cried," she said. "For me, that was the moment, you know, seeing all those people ... there were people everywhere and it made me so proud."

Acadians are the original French people who settled in areas that are now New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and P.E.I., starting in the early 17th century. The first French settlers arrived in 1604, but actual colonies didn't take root until the 1630s.

The next World Acadian Congress is scheduled to be held in the Edmundston area in 2014.