Jasper Pride Festival Society elects new board

By September 4, 2016 No Comments

It’s out with the old and in with the new for the Jasper Pride Festival Society. The group switched things up, Aug. 26, nominating a fresh board of directors at its annual general meeting.

The Jasper Pride Society elected a new board at its annual general meeting, Aug. 26. Cody Murdock and Sara Hamil will be taking over as co-chairs while Jacqui Sundquist will be the new executive director. K. Byrne photo.

Replacing co-chairs Susan McCarthy and Uwe Walter are Cody Murdock and Sara Hamil. Murdock had previously been the society’s secretary.

The meeting was also an opportunity for the society’s members to welcome its new executive director Jacqui Sundquist.

Although Sundquist hails from Edmonton she said Jasper has always been like a second home, adding that she’s been coming to Jasper with her children for more than a decade.

“It’s unbelievable to me how this town embraces the festival,” Sundquist said. “The event is four days a year, but we feel welcome here all year round.”

For the last festival, Sundquist had jumped on board to help write the 2016 Pride Guide, the festival’s schedule.

“The work is already well underway—they are so organized,” Sundquist said about the current state of the society.

“There’s more work to be done, but the momentum is already well established.  What I can bring to the table is organization, leadership, mentoring and just help move the society along and keep it on track.

“I’m just super excited to be a part of the team.”

Sundquist will be replacing Jörg Michel, who with his partner Walter, moved to Victoria for new work opportunities.

“I think that the society is in a better spot than ever—it’s grown so much in the last few years and that makes it a really easy time to leave, but personally it’s very tough,” Michel said. “This is an amazing community with an amazing festival and I will miss both a lot.

“But Jasper will always be in my heart and I will always be back for the festival.”

For the future, Michel predicts the festival will only continue to improve.

“It has been growing every single year and I think next year it will make a bigger step to improve the quality of the programming,” Michel said. “I think the festival has the potential to grow into a week or two week event.”

During the meeting McCarthy and Walter also touched on plans for the eighth annual festival, scheduled for March 9-12.  Back in May it was announced that the theme for the 2017 event will be “Jasper Proud and Free.”

The 2016 festival saw more than 1,000 people attend 24 events—many of which were sold-out. In order to keep the momentum going, the society promoted an online feedback survey following this year’s festival. More than 100 people filled out the online form, and those results are now being used to help improve next year’s festival.

It was announced at the AGM that the 2016 event hauled in a total of $152,455. The total expense of the festival was $83,093. The society is projecting that next year’s festival will cost $144,000, but will bring in about $167,000 worth of income.

Earlier in May the society also received a $50,000 grant from the province’s Community Facility Enhancement Program. Walter said the money will be used to pay off any remaining bills from the 2016 festival.

Source: Kayla Byrne

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