B.C.’s Chief Gold Commissioner Mark Messmer competes in a speed panning competition against a miner, while Mayor Bob Simpson looks on. Ronan O’Doherty photo

Annual Gold Show a 24-karat affair

Visitors and vendors came from across the west to show their wares and keep in touch with tradition

Mining vendors, politicians and people wanting to get involved with their prospecting heritage gathered for a spot of fun at the seventh annual Gold Show at Alex Fraser Park last weekend (April 20-22).

One of the highlights of the weekend included the speed gold-panning championship on Saturday afternoon, which pitted miners against politicians in a wet and wild race to isolate gold flakes from dishes filled with dirt and grit.

Competition was high spirited, with dozens surrounding the matches, cheering on their favourite competitors.

First place this year went to Rick Wittner, president of the Cariboo Mining Association (CMA) and organizer of the event.

Wittner says the result was fantastic.

“Last year, I came in second and I think the year before, I came in fifth or sixth, so I’m really happy to win.”

He says that he didn’t really practise leading up to the event but he knows how to pan quite well, so that helped.

“But, speed panning is something that’s completely out of my element, so I’d say that I lucked out.”

Wittner was pleased with all the out-of-town support this year’s event seems to have drummed up.

“Most of our vendors are from as far away as the Yukon, Alberta and the Lower Mainland. Also, we do advertising which covers right up from Fort St John right down to Ashcroft, so we bring a lot of people into the city.”

His wife, Jackie, who is secretary for CMA, is also pleased with the showing.

“We just keep growing and growing. We have a waiting list of over seven vendors already this year. The vendors are coming to us, so we no longer have to go and chase anyone,” she says.

“This is the first time we’ve opened up for Friday night.

“We had over 120 people come through last night, and last count I did today showed over 800.

“I’m going to have to go home and print more tickets tonight!”

Of the importance of the event, Jackie says that it’s imperative to remain in touch with the region’s roots in mining.

“It’s about these young ones. I mean, look at them,” she says while pointing to a brother and sister furiously working away with their arms elbow-deep in a trough.

“It’s awesome to see them panning. They’re the future of keeping our heritage alive.”

Just Posted

Tarp structure on Warden Street to be removed

Property owner has 30 days to comply with the city’s request

SD28 reveals new school bus schedule; hits back at City Council

District says Board of Education did not make formal request to alter BC Transit schedule

BC SPCA launches Wildlife-in-Focus Photography Contest

Enter the 10th annual photography contest by September

Arraignment date set for local theft suspect

Earl Edward Roper has been in and out of court for Blackwater Road bust charges since January

One-woman show coming to Wells’ Sunset Theatre

The show will be performed on July 19 and Aug. 23, 2018

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

VIDEO: Life’s a beach at this B.C. sand sculpting contest

More than $50,000 was up for grabs at the annual contest held in Parksville

Most Read