Welcome to Victorian Christmas in Barkerville

Barkerville Victorian Christmas 2014

 

 

In a secular age permeated by political correctness and enforced cultural pluralism where expressions of "Happy Holidays" perennially strive to overtake Christian tradition it's gratifying indeed to know that in BC's Cariboo region the Spirit of Christmas still lives on!

 

Beginning on Saturday the 13th of December, 2014 and running through to Monday the 15th Barkerville once again hosted their annual Victorian Christmas festivities and judging from the first day the event was enthusiastically attended and bound to be a success.

 

It was our first experience in traveling up to the old gold mining town of Barkerville to partake of Victorian Christmas and the day was blessed by perfect weather with bright blue sunshiny skies and the temperature just around freezing, conditions well suited for an old-fashioned sleigh ride around the town.

 

My wife and I had heard about the event in the local media and on Facebook where mention was made that the Hanson Family Singers out of Oregon were going to be performing at the Methodist Church in Barkerville where they would be sharing their "Treasures of Christmas" by singing traditional Christmas carols. It was something that both of us were interested in hearing and so we set out Saturday morning excited to spend a wintery day in BC's historic mining town.

 

The reception centre at Barkerville had been set up with displays for visitors showing many authentic historic Christmas images that the past had produced to celebrate this annual religious holy day as well as promotional displays to help out the Friends of Barkerville, a group of non-governmental local citizens who act in an advocacy capacity to enhance the experience of one of B.C.'s oldest and world famous historic sites.

 

 

 

 

A number of miniature displays were on hand some set up before the backdrop of the town painted by the Cariboo's famous Gold Rush artist Jason Curtis.

 

 

Even the old gold miners from day of yore were given the Santa Claus treatment to brighten up their suspended animation with coloured lights and flowing white beards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Admission was either by food donation or a minimal monetary amount and for the children who were attending of course Father Christmas was there, set up to greet them and if needs be provide a jolly setting for a photographic moment.

 

 

The old town itself was resplendent with the spirit of Christmas and Mother Nature had added just enough of a touch of winter to provide the ideal setting for photographing the buildings and the surrounding setting.

 

 

We had arrived early enough that there was time to take in some of the other events and festivities prior to entering the Methodist church for the grand event of the day and so we slowly wending out way up the ancient street of Barkerville stopping along the way to take photos of the scenery and ourselves. 

 

The old Anglican Church in Barkerville is one of the more photogenic spots and so my wife and I took the opportunity to capture images of ourselves dressed in our finest Cariboo Christmas garb. 

 

 

My lovely wife Shastah Topham atop the steps leading into the Anglican Church, Barkerville, B.C.

 

 

Editor & Publisher of the Quesnel Cariboo Sentinel Arthur Topham in festive, Cariboo costume and mood.

 

 

It was a great day for setting up the forge at Cameron & Ames Blacksmiths and visitors were keen on chatting with the smithy.

 

 

The weather was perfect for the team of horses as they waited patiently for the next group of Christmas revellers to fill the sleigh and take the scenic route around the town. It was also a time for visitors to say hello and wish them well.

 

 

A number of businesses were open for the public to enjoy. The Goldfields Bakery was busy selling bread and good eats to hungry Christmas shoppers who were visiting Mason & Daly's General Merchants and the C. Strauss store where they could find top quality Christmas gift items and more delicious home made food stuffs, delicious candies, hot drinks and much more.

 

 

 

Winter fur hats line the shelves in Mason & Daly's store ready to keep those Cariboo ears warm and cozy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every shop had its own unique wood heater to keep the building and customers warm and toasty as they browsed the shelves of delightful merchandise or waited patiently for their hot coffee and snacks to be prepared and the C. Strouss store was no exception.

 

Of course no Victorian Christmas would be complete without enjoying a winter sleigh ride through the old town of Barkerville and children and adults alike were willing participants throughout the day's festivities.

 

 

As the time moved closer to the 1 p.m. start of the Christmas Carol singing in the old Methodist Church my wife and I wended our way back down the streets of Barkerville to attend the performance.

 

Barkerville's Methodist Church where the Hanson Family Singers performed

 

When we got there we discovered that the church was already full to capacity and people were standing outside the door on the porch hoping to still possibly find a seat. Thanks to the efforts of James Douglas, Barkerville's Visitor Experiences coordinator, additional chairs were soon to arrive making it possible for more people to squeeze inside the church.

 

The Hanson Family Singers were the highlight of the day for those who love Christmas and all of the beautiful hymns and carols that have come down to us over the centuries of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. James Douglas offered a brief but resounding introduction to the singers added as well that this was the first time that the church had ever been filled beyond capacity.

 

James Douglas, Barkerville's Visitor Experiences Coordinator

 

 

The Hanson Family Singers definitely lived up to their name and their reputation for providing first class entertainment, humorous anecdotes and lending both grace and solemnity to the many Christmas carols that they sang. 

 

The audience was encouraged to join in with the carolling and all in attendance were given a song sheet with the words so that everyone could easily participate and both adults and children alike were overjoyed with the performance.

 

CLICK Picture to View

 

 

CLICK Picture to View

 

Wrapped in solemn wonder the little children watched and listened in awe to the beautiful voices of the Hanson Family Singers and smiled with cherubim delight at all the beautiful dresses that the ladies wore.

 

 

 

CLICK Picture to View

 

 

The Hanson Family Singers concluded their carolling by performing a short example of yodelling followed by a hearty rendition of We Wish You a Merry Christmas which brought forth much resounding applause from the appreciative audience in the church and was a fitting finale to the afternoon's performance. 

 

CLICK Picture to View

 

 

As we emerged from the church on to the streets of Barkerville with the sounds of Christmas carols still echoing in our ears we came upon another group of young carollers who were also singing their joyous hearts out for all to hear.

 

CLICK Picture to View

 

With the shadows lengthening and the day's events concluding we drove out of Barkerville looking at the golden, snow-covered mountains to the north feeling a warm gladness in our hearts knowing that the spirit of Christmas was so alive and strong here in the old gold mining town and we knew with a certitude beyond doubt that come what may the glad tidings we had heard and seen throughout the town would live on carry us into the new year with hope and confidence.

 

 

~ The End ~

 

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For More Information on the Hanson Family Singers please check their websites:

 

The Hanson Family: Western Swing ~ Blazing Harmony

 

http://www.hansonfamilymusic.com/

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=P__hKlvG3qI