Quesnel · Real LIfe

Billy Barker Nights

One of the events I was keen to attend soon after I arrived in Canuckistan was Billy Barker Days (BBD) which I had experienced back in 2013.

BBD, which has been held on the third weekend of July every year since the early 1970s, is billed as “BC’s Largest Free Family Festival.” The billing is a grammatical nightmare, but the event is highly anticipated by children region-wide.

The festival celebrates the city’s heritage and William Barker, its first gold miner to strike it rich. Amongst other events there is a parade downtown, “crash to pass” stock car crashing, a carnival and live music in LeBourdais Park, and a weekend-long rodeo. BBD’s grand finalé is the fireworks display on the Sunday evening (which I featured here back in 2013.)

I attended the crash to pass on the Thursday evening, the rodeo on both the Friday night and Saturday morning and LeBourdais Park on Saturday evening for a photo shoot with a 15-year-old. This is where children buy all-day passes for the amusement park, to ride until they throw up or until it closes at 10pm.

The teenager, who doesn’t own her own camera, was keen to learn a few shooting tricks, and shot everything on either manual, aperture-priority or speed-priority modes (no auto allowed). This was how she captured the park – without a tripod either, let me tell you! First, the milky tones of the evening light – birds flying and amusement park rides standing stark against the serene sky. Then, as darkness settled around the cheery lights and lingering dreams of butter-popcorn & cotton-candy, she captured the warm tones, shadows and movement of the winding down merriment. I was very impressed!

(Click on thumbnails below to see the bigger images.)


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