Gold-panning championships Aug. 11-12

The 2012 Canadian National Gold Panning Championships takes place in Barkerville on Aug. 11-12

Elaine Edgington, the great-great-granddaughter of Barkerville namesake William “Billy” Barker, will be Barkerville’s guest of honour at the 2012 Canadian National Gold Panning Championships on Aug. 11-12, and will speak at a special Discovery Day ceremony planned for 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Discovery Day, which caps off a weekend of sesquicentennial celebrations at Barkerville, is the official commemoration of Billy Barker’s astonishing placer gold strike in August 1862. Barker and his partners discovered a 30-foot layer of rich gold-bearing gravel 52 feet below the surface of lower Williams Creek that averaged 100 ounces of gold a day. Discovery Day events will include musical performances throughout the town, a brand new Billy Barker historical interpretation, a visit from “The Spirit of Cariboo Cameron,” and a 100-plus pound “Happy Birthday Barkerville” cake.

The 2012 Canadian National Gold Panning Championships will be hosted by Barkerville’s own five-time World Invitational Gold Panning Champion Scott Rea. The championships are a two-day extravaganza that is sure to appeal to gold enthusiasts of all ages.

Competition categories include child, adult, seniors, professionals, teams, dash for the dentist (a children’s candy-hunt), scavenger pile (an adult free-for-all), grudge match, and King of the Creek (the ultimate contest for bragging rights and a $1,000 cash prize).

Each category has cash prizes and sponsored gifts for the winners (including a $1,500 high bank sluice for the adults and a Razor electric scooter for the children). Anyone can participate, provided they register 10 minutes prior to each event.