The gold rush is what Barkerville is known best for, but throughout that era of history and on until today, cowboy culture has been connected to the Cariboo ghost town.
From Friday to Sunday, the national historic site calls home the cattle with its annual Cowboy and Drover Jubilee.
Cowboy poetry and music grew out of a tradition of improvised entertainment carried on by people on cattle drives and ranches in the mid- to late-1800s, said James Douglas, Barkervilles manager of visitor experiences. After a day of hard work these drovers - or cowboys as we call them today - would gather around a campfire and entertain one another with stories, folk songs, and acoustic music.
Poetry, dancing, storytelling and life in the saddle working with animals were all part of the cowboy culture. They all play a role, alongside the music, at the jubilee.
The spotlight event is the Northern Star amateur singing competition. Registration happens on Friday at Barkerville's reception centre from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There is a saloon party that night to round up everyone's appetite for entertainment.
Saturday is another day for registration (ending at noon) for the Northern Star event. Opening ceremonies happen at 11 a.m. inside the festival tent at the front end of town. Guest speakers, cowboy poets and a poetry open mic happen during this time.
Before the amateur singing competition takes place, the audience is treated to a slate of established cowboy troubadours like Bud Webb, Allen Christie, Ed Wahl, and Gordie West, as well as other musical guests Joey Only, the Hanson Family, and inaugural Northern Star winner Terry Wozney. They will take their turns at three different jubilee stages: Barkervilles Methodist Church, Kelly Saloon, and the House Hotel.
Just after 4 p.m. Saturday, the competition gets underway. By 8 p.m. the winner will be announced and thrust almost immediately onto the mainstage for the "Cowboy and Drover Showcase revue and boot-stompin cowboy dance and sing-along featuring all of Barkervilles musical guests," said Douglas.
For those with a hankerin' for theatre of the mind, instead of live music, Saturday night will also feature Barkervilles Theatre Royal troupe performing its wildly popular 1940s live musical faux radio show WCFB: On Air as an alternative.
After all the hootin' and hollerin' on Saturday, the next morning at 11 a.m. Douglas said everyone will be able to "repent their evening of suds and sin" at Cowboy Church held inside St. Saviours (built in 1869) with host Gordie West.
For more information about Barkervilles annual Cowboy and Drover Jubilee, or any of the National Historic Sites seasonal special events, visit www.barkerville.ca.