Gold, Glow and Geeks

History Town 11 (Not missing) by vanstralen

We are into August and that means only two more full months to get to Barkerville while our season is still bursting with activity. If you are planning a journey to our site this August or September I have a suggestion: why not tie your visit to one of our fabulous late season special events?

Two of my favourite traditional events are coming right up, and my absolute favourite new event is stepping up its pace and profile and is certain to take its place as a “can’t miss” yearly happening. So, in chronological order, let me tell you about three awesome Bakerville theme weekends that I have had the pleasure of experiencing from their very beginnings.

Several years ago I attempted gold panning for the first time in my life. I was working as a Street Interpreter and I decided to enter the adult amateur division of Barkerville’s inaugural Canadian National Gold Panning Championships. I had never before put pan to water, and I was so bad at it that Scott Rae of the event hosting Eldorado Gold Panning & Gifts in Barkerville (himself a 7-time World Invitational Gold Panning Champion, after his most recent win this past BC Day) kindly stood by me for the duration of my heat and talked me right through the process. I came second-to-last overall in my category… but I loved it! It was so exhilarating.

After that day I asked a fellow interpreter who was also an avid panner to give me a few lessons. He and Scott taught me well, as a few years later I placed second in the same division. I even got a trophy. I can’t wait to get my pan in the trough this season.

I was also fortunate to attend the first ever Barkerville Mid-Autumn Moon Festival back in the mid-1990s. This weekend-long event immediately became a beloved annual celebration and an important factor in the recognition of Barkerville’s unique place in British Columbia’s Chinese history. The festival, currently guided by the manager of our Chinese History Interpretation, Dr. Ying-ying Chen, is teeming with activities and performances. If you have never been part of the famous Lantern Parade, do come this year and join the glowing procession of stars and moons and other illuminated creations. It is a powerful, peacefully gorgeous sight to behold.

And if you want to be in the place to be this September, you have to come to our newest annual event.

I had no clue about Geek culture until I married into it. My husband is a proud geek, and through him I have been introduced to the wonders of comic cons, and Star Wars, and Doctor Who, etc. My husband also happens to be the Manager of Visitor Experiences at Barkerville, and his Special Events Coordinator happens to run a successful event company in Vancouver called Geekenders. So, how could we not get Barkerville on the geek bandwagon? Last season saw our inaugural mini-con weekend, “Geekenders Lost in Time,” and as a periphery geek I must say it was beyond delightful to watch Klingons and storm troopers and various comic book characters stroll casually by, surrounded by Victorian buildings, on their way to the many scheduled activities. To step things up a bit this year, we have added special celebrity guests to “Lost in Time 2: Take the Sky”: actors from Star Trek, Babylon 5 and The X-Files, who will be on site for signings, panel discussions, and a zany improv show. Barkerville is well on its way to becoming an important Geek culture destination.

I honestly love these three events, and I am happy to whole heartedly recommend each of them. If you are nearby, come to all three! Check our website for all the dates and details.

– Danette Boucher

The above one-panel cartoon by Dirk Van Stralen, with accompanying editorial by Danette Boucher, is the tenth of twenty weekly entries that will be logged – and subsequently blogged – as part of a 2013 collaboration between Barkerville, British Columbia and The Prince George Citizen aimed at introducing some of the quirkier advantages to living, working, and playing in the Cariboo Goldfields. We hope you enjoy!