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Culture Days events in Jasper are ON, with some pandemic adjustments

This year’s Culture Days storytelling event takes place online, on Facebook and Youtube.  Pictured:  Jasper author Ailsa Ross reads to kids at last year’s in-person Culture Day event held at Jasper Library. | File photo

Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter |

Over the past ten years 10,000 people in Jasper have engaged in the arts in a variety of ways in the arts, said Marianne Garrah, director of Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts. 

And this year’s annual celebration of Alberta Culture Days, is slated for September 19 – with a few COVID-related alterations.

It’s the tenth year for the event, a celebration of arts, heritage, diversity and community spirit. This year it will be held in conjunction with the province’s Month of the Artist, an alignment Garrah said is a natural fit.

“We have seen visitors and residents engaged in Artists in the Pines, Bowls with Soul, Mayor’s Awards for the Arts, Scarecrow Festivals, Music Theatre and Film Nights, Fashion shows,” Garrah said. 

Usually there are in-person events including puppet shows, art activities and book readings presented by the ACFA (Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta, régionale de Jasper), the Jasper Municipal Library, the Jasper Artists Guild (JAG), Arts Jasper and Habitat at locations throughout town. 

There have also been visits from premiers, MLAs, and ministers.

“[With] Jasper being a transient, busy community we didn’t have enough people to do it over a month, so we’re down to one day,” Garrah said. 

Habitat for the Arts works with ACFA and the Jasper Municipal Library, all bodies based at the Jasper Cultural Centre. 

“Over the years the government has put out a grant,” Garrah said. “We decided to get together for funding. We’re combining energies in one building, to get the best bang for the buck. There needs to be cohesive communication in town.”

Details are being worked on, said Guillaume Roy, ACFA regional director and staff member, and the fellow who submits grant applications each year. 

He outlined events that will happen on Sept. 19. They include a storytelling session that starts at 9 a.m. on Facebook and Youtube where a few Jasperites will read books to a virtual audience. 

The Costume Reveal is scheduled for 10 a.m., where Jasperites are invited to dress as their favourite book, movie or cartoon/anime character and send a photo to by Sept. 16, to be entered in a draw. Those entries will be posted online on Sept. 19.

At 11 a.m. Marie-Helene Hamel will do an online performance of a francophone theatrical story that she created.

And Jasper artists, musicians and performers can set up booths along the Discovery Trail, along Connaught Drive and Geikie St. from noon to 4 p.m. as an opportunity to show the community their talents, skills, and products. 

For musicians, a busking style of playing music is required. 

Folks can take part in online instruction, in both English and French, at 6 p.m. to put together art-centered crafts. The do-it-yourself kits for this project are available at the library.

Marianne Garrah, director of Habitat for the Arts, pictured with some of the handmade bowls for Bowls With Soul in 2018. | File photo

Garrah said details about the Bowls With Soul fundraising event on Oct. 9 are being worked on and will be released on Oct. 1. 

This is the eighth year for the soup-tasting, bowl-buying event. 

“It packs the arena,” Garrah said. 

In the past, about 150 bowls have been laid out for display and this year there will be 75. Pick a bowl and buy it for $20, then taste a line of soups made and donated by local chefs, and  vote for your favourite. 

Winning chefs get a variety of gifts. “And they get to brag,” Garrah said. “They compete. There’s a little competition.”

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