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Jasper Pride 2021 - Still Happening During Covid-19

Community Works with Restrictions to Create an Amazing Experience

Community Event by Steve Polyak (From April 2021 Online)
Jasper Pride 2019
Jasper Pride 2019
Image by: GayCalgary
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For more than a year, the Covid-19 pandemic has created challenges to organizers of indoor/outdoor events around the world. Lots of events either have been cancelled completely or gone to an online format. Destination prides, like Jasper Pride where tourists and locals come together to celebrate pride are a challenge to put together with travel restrictions, social distancing, and other Covid-19 restrictions in place.  Though, Jasper Pride has always been a shining example for showing how a whole town can come together for Pride and they have figured out how to bring people together while working with Covid -19 restrictions in place keeping locals and visitors safe. We checked in with Jasper Pride organizers to see how everything is coming together for this year’s event.

GayCalgary: What Covid-19 restrictions are in place for Jasper for both travelers and locals if they are coming to celebrate Jasper Pride 2021?

Jasper Pride: We promoted for visitors to Jasper to follow guidance for travelers ( https://www.jasper.travel/coronavirus-update/covid-19-travelers/ ), and encouraged the public - visiting and local - to follow restrictions in place by the Alberta Government. For those able to travel to Jasper, we listed covid protocols for each hotel and accommodation provide on our hotel deals page.

GC: What events will Jasper Pride be able to still have with those restrictions in place and what common ones like the Dances will not be able to happen?

JP: We have a few in-person programs and protocols including:

Annual Pride Flag Raising: By invitation only to ensure that outdoor gathering restrictions would be maintained. We will present the event online and will have a video posted for those that are not able to tune in online at the time of the event.

Jasper Pride Beer Launch: Reservations for a household/cohort are encouraged with outdoor patio seating only available at this time. The beer availability was expanded for pick up, delivery and increased distribution throughout the province with 4-pack tall cans at over 35 vendors provincewide!

Fireside Chat: Guests are required to RSVP to ensure maximum gathering restrictions are maintained.

Marmot Basin Flag run: This event is limited to volunteers who must be always masked and follow social distancing as best they can. We will have a videographer this year to capture the event for those that can only tune in online to view. For the public that are skiing on Saturday, they can participate and view but are requested to follow social distancing, ski with their cohort/household and keep a minimum 2 meters from volunteers with the pride flag. Special addition this year, we will have a trans flag run first, and to reduce the requirement of additional volunteers the same volunteer group will do another flag run with the rainbow flag. This is done to minimize the number of volunteers required to support covid-19 restrictions and keep everyone safe.

We have encouraged everyone to celebrate the spirit of Jasper Pride, with the cohort or household from the comfort of their home or hotel wherever Jasper love may find them. We have some very special presentations in our program to bring the Jasper experience to everyone, particularly those that are not able to travel to Jasper.

We have a robust event schedule, as noted above are the only 'in=person' events, adapted to bring them to your home virtually as well.

We collaborated with community partner, Fruit Loop, to produce a two-part film, Jasper Proud & Free. This video showcases a diverse cast with pop up performers throughout Jasper National Park! We have adapted all programing including dance events to be able to enjoy virtually and have added new programs to keep things exciting for the audience - Piano Bar Burlesque, Snatch Game, crafting and dance workshops/classes and also a special keynote with former professional hockey player and LGBTQ influencer, Brock McGillis.

GC: A big part of Jasper Pride has been the outdoor activities like skiing on Marmot Basin, Jasper Skytram, motorbike tours, alongside of several others, how has Covid-19 restrictions changed those?

JP: Covid-19 has changed really has changed everything and outdoor activities are not exempt from these restrictions and safety-first protocols. Our partners have implemented exceptional protocols to keep the public, staff, and the Jasper Pride team safe. In addition to social distancing and public health protocols, our partners all have enhanced cleaning and sanitizing measures and restricted capacities. Marmot Basin also has cohort friendly patio seating with tents to separate you safely from others. We are very fortunate on Jasper, in that we are in a large national park with wide open spaces to safely distance from others.

We are launching a contest to explore the outdoors during the festival, this can be in Jasper National Park or somewhere closer to your home. The goal is to show your pride, get outside and be healthy. Prizing for this is supported by Parks Canada and TD Bank Group.

GC: Fork & Spoon has become a big part of Jasper Pride over the years celebrating the cuisine of the town of Japer, will that still occur and what changes can people expect?

JP: We have a few partners that are able to participate - Jasper Brewing Co. and the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge have special Pride dining and beverage selections. This, and our silent auction are both programs that our Jasper Pride Team opted not to push during these challenging covid-19 times, particularly as we all faced enhanced restrictions on April 6th. It is stressful times for businesses to adapt, keep their staff and guests safe, and navigate ways to keep their doors open. In the case with restaurants, they are all limited to take out, delivery and patio seating only and not all restaurants are able to adapt with this due to logistics and such. We felt it was inappropriate to add additional stress of participating with special features and donations. We want to show support where we can in appreciation for long standing support from over 80 local businesses in other ways and keep the participation moving into the future when the festival we know, and love can resume.

GC: As in past years, is Jasper still doing window decorating, hanging pride flags along Connaught Drive, and creating products celebrating Jasper Pride?

JP: Absolutely! Our flags on Connaught drive were hung by March 15th, this was done as we had the opportunity this year to partner with Fruit Loop on a pre-produced special production and wanted Jasper looking at it's best! Traditionally these would be hung for the month of April. Stores have all been decorated, and we also welcomed some new participants such as Hi Hostel in Jasper, which was recently opened - they were so excited to be party of Jasper Pride as a new facility in 2020 until the pandemic required us to cancel the festival.

Our "Pride House" is a pop up at Ransom Jasper, a popular retailer in our downtown core. We took this opportunity to clear-out all remaining Jasper Pride Merch and wanted the cost to the public to be by donation. It has been a hard year for many, and we don't want to burden our supporters who want to show their love for Jasper Pride. Individual to go coffee and rainbow cookie are available per usual and sponsored by Coco's Cafe.

GC: Will people outside of Jasper be able to celebrate events virtually?

JP: Absolutely! Our promotions are primarily within the province of Alberta as we don't want to be promoting attendance outside of our provincial borders due to Covid-19 travel guidance, however, we know there are people tuning in virtually from across the globe. We are excited to see the stats on this after the festival!

We also wanted to inspire everyone and bring some light to their festival experience. We have elevated our FREE Pride Pass (which has many exclusive deals and promotions attached to it!) with a local, Alberta Resident, and virtual participant to help us track our attendance. This is difficult to track by event attendance and not everyone attends events such as our signature Pride Party in the past. Everyone who claims their free pass is entered to win one of two Festival Packages for 2022! - each package includes a hotel stay for two nights, Marmot Basin Ski tickets or Jasper Skytram tickets & fat biking and dinner for two! These prizes are sponsored by Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Pursuit, Marmot Basin and Jasper Skytram.


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Contributor Steve Polyak |


Locale Jasper |


Topic Gay Pride | Jasper Pride | Ski and Snowboard | Travel |


(GC)

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