The executive and board members of the Jasper Pride Festival Society (JPFS) were acclaimed at their annual general meeting on Sept. 30.
They reaffirmed their goal of creating a safe and inclusive atmosphere of equality, acceptance and support for the LGBTQ2+ communities.
“In past decades we’ve made leaps and bounds,” Nick Stadnyk, co-chair of the society, said. “We want to work with Pride organizations to raise issues of the LGBTQ2+ community.”
Stadnyk continues his position as co-chair, and a vacant co-chair position is open. Mallory Parcels is the treasurer, Lexi Zarney is secretary, Sasha Berrington is the Tourism Jasper representative, and Allison Snowball, Erin Steeves, Lynn Wannop and Erin Reade are all members at large.
Stadnyk said the JPFS, which started in 2010 and became a registered society with the province in 2013, is mainly the festival arm of events.
“JPFS plans, hosts and fundraises throughout the year to bring this festival and related events to our world-class destination in the Canadian Rockies,” he said.
There are 20 members in the society and the number of partners has grown annually. Now, there are more than 80 partners with corporate and organizations sponsoring Jasper Pride.
The society’s community partners include Out Jasper, Jasper Gay-Straight Alliance, Options HIV West Yellowhead, Fruit Loop Edmonton, Institute of Sexual Minority Studies and Edmonton Pride.
Each year, Jasper Pride Festival kicks off with an annual Pride Flag raising at the Emergency Services building – and the society’s signature event has been its annual Pride Party, a theme-based event.
Other annual events include burlesque and boylesque comedy shows, the Fruit Loop Mountain Party and Pride on the Hill, held at Marmot Basin.
“There’s always been something at that hill to celebrate the community and wear your Pride,“ Stadnyk said. ”In years past, we had a Gay Ski Day. We’re looking to elevate it to a weekend event.“
The society has also supported teen and family events such as Teen Dinner & Movie and Family Pride, an event with stories, songs and s’mores at the Fairmont. The festival is closed with an annual Pride brunch.
The support JPFS gives to community partners comes back to the society.
“Generally we see great support from the community, as evident by our growing number of local sponsors and partners,” said Stadnyk. “The number of commercial (and new residential in 2020) participants that decorate their storefronts and homes is incredible.”
Surveys conducted by the JPFS after their festivals, Stadnyk noted, “help us shape future festivals by providing insight as to what type of events and performers the public would like to see. Feedback also helps us understand how we have done and areas we can improve on to better ourselves”.
Advocacy for the LGBTQ2+ community is important, Stadnyk said.
“Love is love,” he said. “Pride provides an opportunity to celebrate the history of the LGBTQ2+ communities, struggles, successes and looking forward to a future of acceptance.
“The community of Jasper has overwhelming support to support our