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 didnít 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.