Fort Langley celebrates Brigade Days

A resurrection of Hudson Bay Company traders, trappers, First Nations, and women and children dressed in period clothing wandered the grounds at the Fort Langley National Historic Site over the August long weekend for the annual Brigade Days.

The costumed interpreters, along with visitors to the Fort, celebrated the birthplace of B.C. in a three-day re-enactment of the Fort in its heyday in the 1840s and 1850s.

This included fur trade weddings, musket demonstrations, traditional music and dancing, customary campfire cooking and a traditional canoe brigade.

This echoed events from the past when HBC trappers arrived at the Fort by canoe on the Fraser River with their furs. It was a mass coming together of people, and a tradition that the Fort is continuing today.

Many participants in this year’s Brigade came from out of town in the Okanagan and Washington State to dress up and spend a weekend living a lifestyle long since passed.

They also brought all of their own costumes and props to set up the small tent village inside the walls of the Fort, said Rick Herfst, a participant who drove down from Bridal Falls to dress up as an HBC worker for the event.

His collection of props include a tent made of canvas painters tarp, self-made wooden boxes, a vintage shirt sewn by his wife and furs and moccasins found at a second hand store.

He and many of the other costumed visitors travel around B.C. and Washington to participate in similar brigade events throughout the year.


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