It only seems fitting that the Fort Langley National Historic Site would play a role in the Cranberry Festival.
After all, the cranberry was a mainstay of the historic fort's commercial enterprise.
"We bring the history of the cranberry," explained Nancy Hildebrand, a site visitor experience manager.
The Hudson Bay Co. found the berry was a lucrative crop which it was able to export.
But long before then, the local established First Nation had the berry as the centerpiece of its economy.
Different First Nations family groups had jurisdiction over different food products. For some, it could be shellfish or salmon. For the Katzie, it was the cranberry.
Intermarriage to gain access to the different foodstuffs was part of the complex social structure of First Nations before European contact.
The historic site has information it uses to teach visitors about the place this tart red berry has in the history of this community.
Before Fort Langley was built, the StÃ³: lÃ´ people of the Fraser Valley harvested bog cranberries and traded with other Aboriginal people.
When managers of the Hudson's Bay Company saw the price that cranberries were selling for in San Francisco, they began trading with the StÃ³: lÃ´ as well.
"We can sell as many cranberries as you can possibly furnish at from 75¢ to 1 dollar per gallon. A barrel being equal to 33 to 42 dollars, a much better article than salmon, therefore get as many as you possibly can," James Douglas wrote to James Yale on Dec, 7, 1852.
Fort Langley's coopers built the barrels to hold the cranberries - as many as 725 of them in 1855 - and the StÃ³: lÃ´ brought in the berries.
But the California market wasn't as rich as Douglas had thought. The best price for Fort Langley's cranberries was 55 cents a gallon, or $13 for a 24-gallon barrel.
Still, it was more valuable than a barrel of salmon, and the little red berries contributed to the post's profitability until 1858, when the industry was sidelined by the Fraser River gold rush.
Although dikes now prevent the Fraser River from flooding, and most of the bogs have disappeared, cranberries are once again being harvested along the Fraser.
The variety now commercially grown is different from the wild cranberries shipped in barrels so long ago, but the tart taste and health benefits are the same.
For the Cranberry Festival, the fort will have activities at the festival site, including a draw for a family admission pass.
Admission to the fort will be half price, and a bonfire will be going to keep people warm.
Park interpreters will make cranberry bannock: "The customers get to roast it over the fire," Hildebrand said.
There will also be a cranberry toss game and a cranberry stomp inside the fort. Contestants (kids and adults) will have to do a bit of an obstacle course and pull on galoshes to stomp berries in a tub.
"We had that last year," she said. "The adults found that pretty entertaining, as well."
MUSEUMS JOIN IN THE FUN
Langley Centennial Museum will have activities in its building on King Street.
"Families are welcome to come see the new exhibit," said Liette Forestell, the arts and culture programmer.
There also will be crafts.
"It will be cranberry themed," she said. The museum will also be involved in the Kid Zone at Fort Langley Community Hall.
The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4: 45 p.m.
The BC Farm Machinery and Agricultural Museum, next door to the Centennial Museum, is open annually until the Thanksgiving weekend, closing this year on Oct. 8. It has contributed the "Grim Reaper" entry in the Scarecrow Contest.
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