Abundance Tree charms fairgoers in Carbondale | AspenTimes.com

Abundance Tree charms fairgoers in Carbondale

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler/Post IndependentKeegan Jacoves of Buena Vista ponders the options hanging from the Abundance Tree at Carbondale's Mountain Fair on Saturday afternoon.

CARBONDALE ” Six-year-old Peter Salg crawled underneath the tree looking for exactly he wanted. He wondered what he could trade for it.

As dozens of people strolled past Peter, his mother, Heather Salg, and his sister, Sasha, 4, at the 37th annual Carbondale Mountain Fair, the 6-year-old boy made his decision underneath the “Abundance Tree.” He exchanged a squirt gun for a rock with a scorpion in it.

“Is that what you are going to trade?” Heather Salg asked her son. The boy nodded and headed off with his new toy.

The Salgs were among the thousands of people who enjoyed a warm, sunny day at the Mountain Fair on Saturday, as the smells and sounds of the Jazz Aspen Summer Camp Band fell across downtown Carbondale.

The theme of this year’s fair is “New Frontier,” which organizers say “combines the best of Carbondale’s native and ranching history with the “spirit of the future.” That is a “future that holds renewable energy, sustainability and the local community as priorities for health and well-being in our world,” organizers wrote in this year’s fair program. Peter Salg had his first introduction into those concepts Saturday.

Efforts to make that New Frontier a reality at this year’s fair include working to phase out water bottles and instead offer festival goers a chance to buy reusable thermal cups. Other sustainable-focused efforts at the fair included hands-on activities by Carbondale-based Solar Energy International and a booth set up by Project Clothesline, which encourages using the power of the sun to dry laundry on clotheslines.

The Abundance Tree is built with discarded branches and samplings of trees from the Roaring Fork Valley. Whatever people put on it ” it didn’t matter whether the item was store-bought, home-made or used ” they could exchange it for another item they may need or may draw their interest, according to organizers.

“I think it is great. It is a really neat idea,” Heather Salg said. “I am really interested in how it will turn out over the course of the weekend. It is a good thing to learn from and take home.”

Katrina Byars, who was at the fair with her children, Forrest, 10 and Jada, 7, said the concept of the Abundance Tree at this year’s fair was “brilliant.”

“It is a natural interaction between people,” Byars said. “We all have things other people need.”

Organizers behind the Mountain Fair expect about 20,000 people to show up for the three-day festival, which has more than 100 art vendors and a large offering of competitions and activities, like pie and cake contests and a fly-casting competition.

The festival continues Sunday.

While Peter Salg had an introduction to the concepts of sustainability on one side of the fair, Ian Catto, 8, also had a brief introduction on the other side of the fair. He struggled to pedal a bicycle, which powered a blender smashing the fruit for a smoothie he was about to drink. When he was done, he relished what he had accomplished.

“It was fun,” he said of blending the smoothie with the power of his legs. “It is environmentally friendly and good for your body.”

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