Elkfest A Success Amid Pro-Life Protests

POSTED: 05:10 AM MDT May 19, 2012    UPDATED: 06:02 AM MDT May 19, 2012 
JACKSON, Wyoming -

Visitors and locals in Jackson celebrated Elkfest on Saturday, alongside an anti-abortion protest group that's been in town for days.

Operation Save America has official permission from the Town of Jackson to hold anti-abortion demonstrations in the town square Wednesday through Sunday, with the exception of Saturday. That day, the town says, belongs to Elkfest.

Jackson's town square was packed with excitement as the Boy Scouts held their annual Elkfest.

"We're here to hopefully have a good time and sell a lot of antlers," said scoutmaster Kevin Anderson.

It was all smiles at the fundraiser, but the event could have easily become a center for controversy this year.

Since their arrival in Jackson on Wednesday, Operation Save America has created quite a stir among the community, displaying graphic images of aborted fetuses.

They are the second group to hold this type of protest in Jackson this month, since the Wyoming Supreme Court recently allowed anti-abortion demonstrations.

Today, however, Operation Save America put the pictures away.

"We're not going do that and ruin an event, and there's a time and place for everything,? said Ante Pavkovic, a prominent member of the group said as he played the guitar. ?We all agreed. This is not the time and place for that."

Instead, members donned their signature red shirts, handing out literature and engaging in friendly conversation with the folks in the blue shirts.

Those shirts belong to Jackson Hole United. It's a group of pro-life and pro-choice citizens, who just want civility, compassion and love in the community amid the protests.

As for today, Jackson Hole United members said their wish had been granted.

"It's looking great! It's been really great,? said Jackson Hole United members Kelly Keefe and Martha Stewart, in unison.

?We as a community have done a very good job,? Stewart continued. ?We've been very good at what we've done."

"Both the community and those who came from outside have done a good job of reacting to each other in a positive manner," said Sgt. Cole Nethercott of the Jackson Police Department.

Boy scouts and police are calling this year?s Elkfest a great success, as the peaceful event raised over $90,000 for the National Elk Refuge and the Jackson District Boy Scouts.

It marks the 100th anniversary of the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole.