Old attractions and new media joined together when Barkerville Bella, also known as Donna Dixon, showed up in town wearing a ye olde dress.
Bella is the marketing and communications specialist for Barkerville and used Facebook as a means to connect people with Barkerville.
But it isn’t as self-serving as it sounds. Bella spent time in each town she stopped in and would broadcast her impressions of the communities on the Internet. That way she was promoting all the communities in the Northwest.
“We can use new technology to promote something like Barkerville,” she said. “My message is I’m trying to get our fanbase on Facebook up really high because that’s how we can connect with people.”
She was quite fond of her visit in Smithers. She joined Gladys Atrill from Tourism Smithers when she showed up at a Smithers Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Fergus Tomlin with the Bulkley Valley Museum also gave her a tour down Main Street.
“I will be telling [Internet followers] that I am amazed at the hospitality,” she said of Smithers, also reflecting on the shopping experience in town. She enjoyed the unique shops and the multi-generational stores.
Bella wore a very unique old fashioned dress.
“The dress was designed especially for me,” she said.
It contains 10 metres of silk fabric and is authentic, right down to the colour and the dye used.
The dress can draw laughs from people who see her in the old-timey garb while she chats on her iPhone and uploads images to Facebook.
Atrill said she enjoyed the unique approach to marketing.
“I love the interaction so for me it’s fantastic to have someone come here from another community who is going to share the experiences,” she said.
People can follow Bella on Facebook by visiting their website at www.barkervilleisfun.ca.