The Bulkley Valley Kinsmen are preparing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Telkwa barbeque and the line up is going to be one for the books.
Trooper, George Canyon and Aaron Pritchett are headlining the three-day event and organizers are promising one of the best Telkwa barbeques ever.
Established in 1912, the Telkwa barbeque, formally known as the Bulkley Valley Agricultural Show, has become the staple Labour Day Weekend party for the Bulkley Valley and has seen a century of community spirit come through it’s doors.
When Harry Beck decided to introduce barbeque beef to the fair, no one could imagine 100 years later villagers would still be continuing the tradition.
In the depression years the Telkwa barbeque was a major event in the northwest and soon attracted the rodeo, ball games and horse races. Still, despite the daunting journey in those days, participants from as far as Williams Lake made the trek every year.
After the Second World War, and years of neglect due to war time provisions, the barbeque was back in action, once again filling the fair grounds with a lively celebration.
“In 1946, the entire show was revived, along with the rodeo,” former Kinsmen and BBQ Pit Boss Peter Kryklywyj wrote in 1983.
“That was the first year I attended the Telkwa Barbeque. The admission gate back then was at the railway crossing, a good 200 metres from where the gates are today, and for a grand total of $1.25, you got admission to the grounds and one, “beef on a bun.”
Spanning two world wars, countless booms and busts in the north, the Telkwa barbeque survived it all and year after year people from all over the northwest flock to the little village of Telkwa for the final party of the summer, a party that’s more than just festivities, it’s about the people who make it happen.
Now, after 20 years under the guidance of the BV Kinsmen, the Telkwa barbeque is host to an impressive demolition derby and one of the biggest softball tournaments in northwest B.C. and the beef has never been better.
This year’s derby is going to be one of the biggest on record. With over 60 cars already registered it promises to be a smashing good time.
To accommodate the heavy headliners, the Kinsmen are building a huge stage at the BBQ grounds to mark the centennial event and as a reminder of 100 years of service to local communities.
“It’s just going to be one big party from one end to the other,” BV Kinsmen president, Leroy Dekens said.
“People can expect this to be better than any other year.”
Along with the concerts, softball tournament and beef there’s also a number of kid’s games including RC races, frog races and chicken poop bingo.
Saturday the festivities begin at noon with the first round of heats in the demolition derby and the Trooper concert kicking off at 7 p.m.
Sunday, softball team’s descend on the fair grounds as they battle for the crown of the 100th Telkwa BBQ Softball Tournament. The beef will make its way into the pit promptly at 7:30, as country stars George Canyon and Aaron Pritchett hit the stage.
Monday morning is the softball tournament championship. When the beef hits the plate, just in time for the demolition derby finals.
“This is probably going to be the biggest event we’ve ever had,” Telkwa Mayor, Carmen Graf said.
“Of course being the 100th year, it’s going to be a really big deal for Telkwa.”
As preparations are finalized and the completion of the new stage nears, Graf notes the importance local volunteer organizations have in such a tight-knit community.
“Organizations like the Kinsmen are extremely important. It’s absolutely important. All the volunteer groups are important,” Graf explained. “Without volunteers we’d be pretty hard-pressed to get a lot of these projects done.”
By bringing in such high profile acts, Graf hopes newcomers to the area will see the beauty of the village between two rivers. Giving Telkwa an opportunity to showcase the little village in the northwest and abroad.
Still, with anticipation building, the Kinsmen and the community they serve are proud to leave their mark on something that will celebrate and bring Telkwa together for the next hundred years and on.
“This is something for the community to have for years to come,” Dejens said.
“This [stage] will be in the community for 100 years. We want to the community to get behind the Kinsmen and give us support, and help showcase the north. We’re trying to bring out something here that will showcase the north so people know where we are. “Build it, and they’ll come.”