Community Papers

Brigade Days at Fort Langley this weekend

The annual Brigade Days festival at Fort Langley National Historic Site takes place this long weekend (Aug. 1- 4).

Period re-enactors from all over British Columbia and Washington will convene for three days of 1800s living, live music and the exciting arrival of the fur brigades on the Fraser River.

Throughout the long weekend, dozens of men, women and children dressed in 19th century clothing will be “roughing it” in their canvas tents, cooking over the fire, and sharing their old-fashioned skills with visitors. Visit with the re-enactors and watch demonstrations of sewing, trapping, cooking and historic weapons.

A highlight on Saturday, Aug. 2 will be some good old-fashioned demonstrations such as a day-long pig roast to view, trapping techniques and historic weapons.

On Sunday, Aug. 3, a day of interesting demonstrations in the encampment culminates with the traditional Fur Trade Cook-off at 3 p.m. Visitors who arrive early to watch the re-enactors of all ages cook up their 1800s recipes, and see which dish the judges choose as the winner.

On Monday, Aug. 4 at 1 p.m., don’t miss the highlight of the year, “The Arrival of the Fur Brigades.” Re-enactors will paddle to Fort Langley and unload their cargo of furs, barrels and dignitaries at Fort Langley’s Marina Park. They can cheer on the canoe brigades, and hear the exciting bagpipe and black powder salute.

The Arrival of the Fur Brigades portrays an annual event dating from 1848, when Fort Langley became the main depot for the Hudson’s Bay Company on the west coast. Every summer in the 1850s, the fur brigades traveled down the rivers to Fort Langley. The brigades came down in canoes full of furs and other goods that had been traded from Aboriginal people at the Interior forts.

They unpacked these goods at Fort Langley to be repacked and shipped back to England. The fur traders then repacked their canoes with European supplies to take back to the Interior posts.

BC Day Caribbean Festival and Concert takes place Aug. 4 at 5:30 p.m. Brigade Days will wrap up this year with a new twist on an old favourite: a free concert in the fort sponsored by the Langley Community Improvement Society. This year, the Fort is celebrating B.C. Day — Caribbean style. The free festival will take place Monday, Aug. 4 from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

Visitors will enjoy a musical line up starting with a Kwantlen First Nations drumming welcome, music by the Langley Music School Fiddlers with Andrea Taylor, Caribbean dancers and an exciting Tropitonics steel band performance.

Other entertainers and vendors will contribute to a festive atmosphere.

So what does the Caribbean have to do with Fort Langley? Sir James Douglas, “Father of British Columbia” who read the proclamation of B.C. on Nov. 19, 1858, at the Fort – the birthplace of B.C. - was the Guyana-born, first governor of B.C.; his mother was born in Barbados; and Colonel Richard Moody, the first lieutenant-governor of B.C. was also born in Barbados.

Visitors should bring a picnic blanket, chairs and a picnic, or pick up food from the barbecue offered by the Full Barrel Café, such as poutine, hamburgers, hot dogs, fantastic pie à la mode and ice cream sundaes.

Regular admission fees apply daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or people can visit free with your annual pass. Regular day admission costs $3.90 per youth (ages 6-16); $6.55 per senior (age 65+); $7.80 per adult (ages 17-64) and $19.80 per family (two adults and up to five youth).

Annual passes cost just $9.80 per youth; $16.60 per senior; $19.60 per adult; and $49 per family. If you purchase an annual pass at Brigade Days, it is good until August 31, 2015 – visit brigade days two years in a row with your pass.

The BC Day Caribbean festival and concert is free starting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 4.

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