Quesnel Ready for Billy Barker Days
Quesnel, B.C. – The City of Quesnel is getting set to celebrate its gold rush heritage.
The 43rd annual Billy Barker Days festival kicks off tomorrow and runs through Sunday.
Director Ron Connell of the Billy Barker Society says they’re all set for another successful year.
“Well if it’s not prepared by now, it isn’t going to be, so I think we’ve got all our ducks in a row. And speaking of ducks we’re hoping it doesn’t rain anymore.”
Seniors Day gets things started tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. while the one of the biggest attractions – Canadian rock legends Chilliwack – are set to hit the stage at Lebourdais Park Friday night.
Others attractions this weekend include Kids’ Day Friday, auto racing, the rodeo and the parade Saturday morning.
Michelle Daniels, president of the Quesnel Chamber of Commerce, says the annual event always provides a nice economic boost for local businesses.
“Well I think festivals in general have a huge economic impact and I think in Quesnel in particular, we have four days of events and shows and entertainment and it brings in a lot of tourists and a lot of our community partakes in events as well.”
She says that’s good news for hotels, restaurants, retail, entertainment as well as tourism.
“A lot of people might come to Quesnel and then might come back to visit once they come to our community and see what a nice place it is.”
Organizers say predicting exactly how many people will be in town isn’t easy considering the festival doesn’t charge admission but it’s safe to safe it’s well into the thousands.
“I don’t know,” says Daniels. “But music in the park is packed, anywhere from four to five thousand watch entertainment in the evening.”
Large crowds also bring the possibility of unruly behaviour. In anticipation of that, the Quesnel RCMP are prepared as always.
“We have extra resources that have come in from various traffic units and we definitely have some extra staff working extra shifts the next four days,” says Quesnel RCMP Sgt. Darren Dodge who notes most problems are related to one issue in particular.
“I would say most of our problems are related to alcohol on a weekend like this. Just a lot more people, a lot more events and a lot more alcohol.”
He says that’s not to say police want to prevent people from having a good time.
“We encourage everybody to have a good time, do so responsibly and plan for a ride home.”