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Jasper Days to showcase local artists

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Culture Days is back in Jasper for a fifth year.

The weekend, Sept. 27–29, will be packed with events celebrating the town’s arts community.

Marianne Garrah, the event organizer, said that the streets will be filled with music as local musicians perform across town.

There will also be several events organized by the community, including a scarecrow-making festival spearheaded by the Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce, a writing workshop put on by the library, puppeteering workshops with Marie-Helene Hamel, Aboriginal arts and culture workshops and a free dance at the Alpine Summit Lodge on Friday night.

Garrah is especially excited for the Soup with Soul event. The dinner and variety show will feature Cam Neufeld and the Django Collective, a fiddler from Newfoundland who takes the audience on a musical history of the fiddle.

“It’s more than soup, man, you’re gonna get so much soul,” she said.

Central to Culture Days are the Raven About the Arts Awards Saturday night.

Garrah started the awards to recognize artists in the community because she felt they weren’t being given enough credit.

Awards are given for dance, visual arts, music, and community pillars, among others.

Last years winners were Nicole Koebel for dance; Sonia Deleo for theatre; Jonathan Thornton for music; Gregory Deagle for visual arts; Paulette Dube for writing; and Mike Gere for photography. Helen Schwartz was named a pillar and Louise Medig was named a patron.

Garrah said that often when she calls artists to tell them they’ve won an award, they tell her they don’t deserve it and she should choose someone else.

Jasper’s artists are modest, she said, noting that she’s a firm believer that people come here to be part of a quiet, peaceful community and, because of that, it’s hard for them to puff out their chests and accept well deserved praise for their work.

“There needs to be more strutting in Jasper,” she said. “We need to recognize these people and show how vibrant the arts in our community are.”

Garrah hopes that as Jasper celebrates its artists with the awards, and the Culture Days that surround them, it will help bring out some of that much-needed strutting.

For a full schedule of events, visit or the Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts page on Facebook.

Trevor Nichols

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