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Billy Barker Days souvenir booth opens on Reid Street

The booth is selling all kinds of Billy Barker Days-themed souvenirs
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Maureen Murray has been souvenir director for Billy Barker Days since the 90s.

The Billy Barker Days souvenir booth is back selling t-shirts, buttons, programs and more ahead of the 2024 Billy Barker Days festival.

Director of Souvenirs Maureen Murray has been involved with Billy Barker Days since 1999, the booth stays on her property while it isn't being used for the festival.

"I'm in the souvenir booth for the next two weeks and then I live in the park for the four days," Murray said. The booth will be at Reid Street next to the post office until July 16th. It's open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m on weekdays.

Murray has been the souvenir director since she started volunteering for Billy Barker Days in the 90s. Murray said she initially just wanted to help as a general volunteer but before she knew it the booth was in her yard and she was organizing souvenirs. The booth was first built in 1986 by one of the founding members of Billy Barker Days, Murray said it's still sturdy and in good condition.

"It's a great small-town festival. The founding fathers (of the festival) picked a good weekend we rarely have too much weather that delays it," Murray said. She said the Williams Lake Stampede is notoriously wet but Billy Barker Days usually gets clearer skies.

The booth has all kinds of souvenirs featuring the logo for this year's Billy Barker Days. Murray said the most popular items are the event programs which include maps and detailed schedules, Billy Buttons for the gold nugget draw and t-shirts.

"Everything in the park, on the stage is free," Murray said. "You just bring your cooler and your lawn chair and relax." She said selling souvenirs, especially the Billy Buttons, is one of the ways they cover the costs of the event, along with sponsors and grants.

Some of the costs for Billy Barker Days include setting up the stage for the bands, paying the headliner bands and covering equipment costs throughout the festival.

Murray's favourite part of Billy Barker Days is the bands and the souvenir booth will placed in a great spot at LeBourdais Park for her to watch them and hear the music.

"I love the music and I don't have to move. I just have to sit here. I got the best seat," she said. But as much as she loves the festival, there are parts she skips. "I don't go to the rodeo because then I'd have to leave this booth," she said with a laugh.

Billy Barker Days will run from July 18th to July 21st. Crash to pass racing at the Gold Pan Speedway will be on the 18th, the Quesnel Rodeo will be on the 19th at Alex Fraser Park and events will be happening throughout the festival across the city.



About the Author: Austin Kelly

Born and raised in Surrey, I'm excited to have the opportunity to start my journalism career in Quesnel.
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