I spoke to Lynn Wannop, the Co-Chair of the Jasper Pride Festival Society, to talk about the 10th anniversary of the Jasper Pride Festival. When I asked about the popularity of Jasper Pride she answered, “Who doesn’t want to come to Jasper?” And Lynn is right, who wouldn’t want to come to Jasper? Especially since Jasper Pride is the largest pride event in the Canadian Rockies!
Jasper Pride is an important aspect of the community as it styles the mountain town as a year-round destination and portrays it as “a safe place where people can be themselves,” says Lynn. The Jasper Pride Festival comes for four days in April, but for the town itself, pride runs all year round.
Lynn recalled that ten years ago when she opened Coco’s Café, she put a rainbow sticker on the door. “I used to work with drag queens in Edmonton and when I moved to Jasper, I knew the direction I wanted to take my business in.” Ten years later, the majority of Jasper business have stickers on their doors as a mark of solidarity.
Lynn says, “Originally I just wanted to party – pride parties were so happy and fun, and it just grew from there.” Lynn’s first pride party was at the Downstream Bar and they’ve been involved ever since. Ten years later, businesses all around town are lending their services to make Jasper Pride a destination event.
The central hub for all things festival related is Jasper Pride House. This is a meeting place for people interested in what is going on during the festival, and it’s the headquarters for volunteers. There are couches and coffee and treats supplied by Coco’s Café. At pride house you can find event information, where to go, what to do or just hang out and meet cool people.
Are you struggling and in need of a support? Out Jasper is a community outreach program that extends its help to the LGBTQ community for those living in or passing through Jasper. If you need to talk to someone, Out Jasper is there to help.
The Fork and Spoon fundraiser is the food festival for Jasper Pride. Participating businesses all over town design special snacks and beverages to celebrate all things pride. Proceeds from sales go back into the festival!
Pride Events 2019
This four day event runs from April 25th to 28th and promises to be an exciting time for everyone with events going on all over Jasper.
On April 25th, Jasper Brewing will have a kickoff party where they will reveal their new beer brewed especially for the occasion. A dollar from every pint will go to support the Jasper Pride Society.
The Whistle Stop Pub will be hosting a mix, mingle and music kick-off party on the 25th. True to its roots, the Downstream Bar will be having some pride events of its own. Catch their kick-off dance party on the 25th and their burlesque dance party on the 26th.
The 4 Peaks Night Club will host The Dirrty Show on April 25th and their second Fruit Loop Mountain Party on the 26th, with DJ Queerbait and pop up drag queen performances. The Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre will have Pride Live Music with Kate Reid in their Champ’s Lounge on April 26th.
The Marmot Basin Pride Weekend will really get you into the pride spirit! During their pride parade on April 27th, all the party goers ski down Marmot Basin under a massive pride flag. There will also be a colourful pride fun run with a DJ and a BBQ.
Don’t forget about the main event: The Pride Party! On the 26th. The theme for the 2019 Pride Party is Proud Peaks National Derby. Put on your best derby outfit and enjoy a night of fun to celebrate a decade of Jasper Pride!
Other exciting programming includes a family friendly songs, stories and s’mores event at the Jasper Park lodge on the 27th, as well as yoga at Jasper Wellness and a line dancing workshop at the Jasper Legion.
All of this and more is to come. Check out www.jasperpride.ca for all the exciting event details. Come to Jasper and find out what it means to be Jasper Proud and Free!