You know you’re in a really small town — or at least a cool town, anyway — when you arrive and 20 minutes later you are having a beer with the mayor.
That’s how my trip to Jasper, Alta. started last weekend. The Jasper Pride Festival took place and welcomed hundreds of people to the three-day event.
Beginning with the Welcome Reception that promised birthday cakes and hugs, I was a little concerned that since I am here primarily covering the event for radio that these elements would be far from interesting. I was wrong! Also, considering I had never gone to Pride before I didn’t know how my programming would fit into the festivities.
But don’t get confused by the Pride name. The mainstream visual that people get is the flamboyant half-naked sweaty people bumping and grinding and blocking streets to wave flags during a parade. In fact, I didn’t see anybody topless the entire time. Erase all that and think of Jasper’s as being a casual group of friends just having a good time.
As Mayor Ireland welcomed me it was moments after the Pride committee quoted the phrase, “it’s not who you love — it’s that you love” before cutting two big rainbow birthday cakes. The words stuck in my head all weekend.
With outdoor activities on a ski hill and snowshoe adventure and a closing brunch — gay, straight, white, black, blue, rainbow, old, young — you feel welcome at Pride, not to forget Jasper itself.
OK, so maybe one of my colleagues got a $50 parking ticket at the goodbye brunch on Sunday, but it was a good time that made you think that you could come here anytime and have a friend — who might be a heavyhitter in the community… who can potentially make that parking ticket disappear… since it was his community’s street sign that was backwards… causing the technicality.
For all the highlights of Jasper Pride Festival, go to jasper.jbonair.com.