Carbondale celebrates 46th year of ‘weirdness and community’
July 31, 2017
Carbondale's Mountain Fair was its festive, quirky self as usual, if with a little more rain this year.
The kiddos got some firsthand training on aerial silks, while child face-painting was as popular as ever. Women in the wood-splitting competition flexed some serious muscle Saturday, while other competitors showed that limbo is not reserved only for kids, and fly fishermen and women cast in competition. An African drum lesson broke into united beats. The event actually included multiple drum circles, as well as blessings from Native Americans and Ganden Shartse monks. Poetry was slammed; pies and cakes were baked in furious competition.
Crystal Colantina, now a 6-year local, called Mountain Fair a "celebration of weirdness and community." The event's atmosphere sparks a lot of what she called "free rawness."
Andrew Fernitz, who's been in the area for three years, said the overwhelming number of local crafts, arts and food, along with some great music, makes the event what it is.
"Carbondale is so unique, and Mountain Fair is a uniquely Carbondale event," he said. "Plus, this is the only place I've ever seen where cops are armed with tie-dye shirts."
Mountain Fair has a great vibe because it's also a family friendly event, Colantina said.
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"It's my favorite party of the year."
Tersia Brutsaert from Aspen said she's been coming to Mountain Fair during all of her 30-some years in the Roaring Fork Valley.
The social aspect, something that makes the festival feel like a reunion, has made the event tremendously popular, she said. The event also is diverse, drawing people from all up and down the valley and beyond.
Brutsaert, too, is enthralled with the local foods, "the local honeys and produce and, of course, beer," she said.
Hein Brutsaert said this is one of the top five events in the Aspen valley, right up there with world ski competitions and Aspen's Fourth of July celebration.
Tersia Brutsaert and Emily Marshall said Mountain Fair is far and away more fun than even Aspen's Food and Wine, because the Carbondale event isn't exclusive.
"This is the local's event," said Marshall, who later participated in the women's wood chopping competition.
Mountain Fair seems to have a little bit of everything, said Sara and Matt Ott, who nearly moved to Aspen this spring from Ohio. They were in Carbondale getting the Mountain Fair experience for the first time with their two children.
"And there's a lot of unique entertainment," Matt Ott said.
"I haven't seen an adult limbo in a long time, Sara Ott said. "It's just fun, and there's such good music.
Katie Kubo, originally from Hawaii and now a Carbondale-area resident of three years, said she loves the hippie vibe of the festival. All the vendors and the community itself really contribute so much to the event, she said.