Jasper the Bear is filled with Pride during last year's Saturday Night Pride Party.
When it comes to Pride, Jasper’s bursting at the seams.
So much so, in fact, that the annual Jasper Pride Festival has outgrown its bounds. The Pride Party, the Saturday night apex of the Jasper Pride Weekend, which, for the past five years has brought LGBT community members from all over Western Canada to the Rocky Mountains, will for the first time be held at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, instead of the Jasper Activity Centre. The latter location can only accommodate 350 people or so. Organizer Joerg Michel says the growth of the festival is reflective of the progress of the pride movement itself.
“The excitement is building, it’s gaining traction,” he said. “We’re feeling overwhelmed!”
Five years ago, when organizers dreamed up the Jasper Pride Weekend, they had no idea how special the weekend would become for participants. A small seed has blossomed into a beautiful flower, said Lynn Wannop.
“Oh my God it makes me feel so proud and amazing to see what it’s become,” said Wannop, who helped create the original festival. “It’s become what we always thought it could be.”
Michael Ormondy, president of OutJasper and a member of the Jasper Pride Festival organizing committee, was proud to see the Rainbow Flag raised in Jasper last year.
Along with Saturday night festivities at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, the Pride Festival will feature musical comedy at the Whistlers Inn’s Whistle Stop Pub, morning Yoga at the Lobstick Lodge, short films at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and a Sunday Brunch at Cassio’s Resaturant. Marmot Basin has come on board this year with two Pride-themed events at the ski hill and other activities—including guided excursions with SunDog Tours at iconic Maligne Lake and shimmering Maligne Canyon—will give non-skiers fun outdoor alternatives.
“The events are filling up, we’re seeing really strong response,” said Michel.
That response is coming from all over Alberta. Jasper’s Pride is evident to Chad Chafe-Mugoy, from Edmonton. After attending last year, he and his partner are planning to come to Jasper to once again experience the atmosphere and the openness of the entire community, he said.
“The open acceptance of LGBT community within Jasper is awesome,” he gushed.
While Jasper has always been somewhat of a bastion of acceptance—HIV West Yellowhead, the Jasper Community Team, OutJasper and other community organizations have long been leaders in the province for their work with LGBT communities—the recent creation of the Jasper Pride Festival Society has solidified that effort even more, said Michel. The festival’s stalwart group of volunteers have been buoyed by a supportive business community, which is critical to the weekend’s success.
“We have strong support from the business community and Tourism Jasper,” he said.
“Without our partners we couldn’t host this festival.”
The Pride Festival kicks off with a Welcome Party at the Lobstick Lodge. For the full event schedule, see jasperpride.ca
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