Prince George resident Alexa Stevens was full of concentration when she decorated her gingerbread man at the Old Fashioned Victorian Christmas at Barkerville Historic Town & Park on Dec. 10. Barkerville smashed attendance records Dec. 9-11 with 1,600 people going through the turnstiles. KAREN POWELL PHOTO

Old Fashioned Victorian Christmas provided the wonder of a traditional yuletide experience

Old Fashioned Victorian Christmas provided the wonder of a traditional yuletide experience

All the enchantment and classic Christmas charm filled the streets of Barkerville Historic Town & Park for its annual Old Fashioned Victorian Christmas.

Between Dec. 9 and 11, a record-breaking attendance of 1,600 visitors settled into the snow-laden town, and received all the wonder of a traditional yuletide experience.

It shattered the previous record of 1,100 in 2015

This number was a welcome surprise to Ed Coleman, chief executive of Barkerville,

Coleman was overjoyed with the turnout.

“Given the unprecedented impact of this summer’s wildfire activity on the tourism economy on the entire region, this overwhelming show of support from our global Barkerville community has been a very real, and gratefully accepted, holiday gift.”

In the true spirit of Christmas, admission to Barkerville’s weekend event was by donation. Both monetary donations as well as non-perishable food items were welcomed.

Due to the large number of visitors, more than 20 bankers boxes were collected. By the end of the third day of the event, nearly 1,000 pounds of non-perishable food items had accumulated and were given to the Wells Legion holiday hamper program.

Guests had a fantastic selection of activities and shopping options, which gave the historic town a magical liveliness. It was a special kind of treat to pass through the gates, as Barkerville shops and events are otherwise closed to the public during these winter months.

Visitors could ride through the streets on a sleigh and take in the beauty of the snow-covered buildings and surrounding forest.

Photo opportunities with Father Christmas in the Enchanted Forest and a whimsical reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol by Barkerville’s Mr. Bowron, were among the many traditional activities.

This year, a few new scenes were added to the itinerary.

On Dec. 10, the Q City Singers sang old-fashioned Christmas carols to a standing-room-only audience, delivering festive melodies within the delightful acoustic of the Wesleyan Methodist Church.

In addition, a Quesnel Junior School brass band performance was held in St. Saviour’s Anglican Church on Dec. 11.

Guests could enjoy baked goods and cookie decorating at Goldfield Bakery’s gingerbread workshop.

Elegantly printed greeting cards and gift ideas gave shoppers the opportunity to purchase items with a special antique flair.

The Shamrock Lift & Tube Run was also open just outside the gates of Barkerville, offering a great rush of fun and laughter for friends and family.

As one of western-north America’s largest heritage attractions, Barkerville is a place our community takes great pride in. Perhaps the success of this year’s Old Fashioned Victorian Christmas can be one we attempt to beat every year.

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