Carbondale’s May First Friday features block party, pride parade, Rotary ball drop, kid games |

Carbondale’s May First Friday features block party, pride parade, Rotary ball drop, kid games

Staff report
Roaring Fork High School junior Annabelle Stableford walks tall at Carbondale's parade Friday.
Arn Menconi/For The Aspen Times

Carbondale celebrates the first Friday of the month 12 months out of the year with a street party of some sort and a chance to take in all that Main Street has to offer.

But each May, a collective group of organizers pulls out all the stops for one of the biggest First Friday celebrations of all, featuring a Family Block Party and a chance to celebrate the town’s youth as the school year winds down.  

And so it was Friday evening. All. The. Stops. 

The 11th annual Family Block Party had no shortage of events and fundraising opportunities for various youth- and animal-centered programs on tap from 4-8 p.m. at the Fourth Street Plaza.

The Pride Parade got things going in Carbondale for First Friday.
Arn Menconi/For The Aspen Times

A newer tradition, the Pride Parade, was held in conjunction with the Gender Sexualities Alliance (GSA) at Carbondale Middle School. The student organization focuses attention on LGBTQ+ racial and gender justice issues and advocates for safer schools and healthier communities, the release states. 

The Pride Parade took place on Main Street at 5:30 p.m., open to all.

“The Family Block Party benefits kids and animals in our community and is a labor of love,” said event founder and organizer Michelle Marlow, who works with her high school-aged daughter, Payton, to put on the event.

Admission is free, though organizers asked for donations of $10 per person, with various organizations sponsoring booths and attractions in the KidZone. They include:

  • The Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program (AZYEP) Youth Stage
  • Games and activities put on by the Carbondale Recreation and Community Center
  • Arts and crafts by Handmakery
  • Carbondale Arts’ Rosybelle Mobile Maker-Space bus
  • Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE) “adorable adoptables” and Silent Auction
What’s a parade without a marching band — or maybe a sauntering one?
Julie Bielenberg/The Aspen Times

All proceeds from the event go back to the community and benefit valley youth and family programming and organizations, including CARE, AZYEP, GSA of Carbondale Middle School, LIFT-UP, the Rita B. Fund, Smiling Goat Ranch, and Sopris Children’s Fund (formerly Angel Tree: Seasons of Giving).

The Pride Parade is a relatively new tradition at Carbondale’s ultimate First Friday in May.
Arn Menconi/For The Aspen Times

Food trucks from Slow Groovin’ BBQ, Sundae, and Senor Mango, as well as a Block Party Beer & Spirit Garden for the adults, featured local beers and cocktails.

And, as usual, First Friday offers an opportunity to check out Carbondale’s Creative District with its variety of local arts, galleries, shopping, restaurants, and more.

Carbondale Rotary Fireball Drop

The May First Friday has also become the landing spot for the Rotary Club of Carbondale’s biggest fundraiser of the years, the Fireball Drop.

Around 1,000 ping pong balls have been purchased and were dropped from the Carbondale Fire Department ladder truck onto targets in Sopris Park at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Music, the Rotary Fireball Drop for charity and the full moon fire ceremony were highlights.
Julie Bielenberg/The Aspen Times

Proceeds benefit Carbondale Rotary’s student scholarships, community grants and environmental projects, Rotary Youth Exchange, and other youth services.

RFV Circle full moon ceremony

Later in the evening, at 6:30 p.m., a Native American full-moon fire ceremony was scheduled at Nuche Park, located across from the Prince Creek turnoff on Colorado Highway 133 just south of Carbondale. 

First Friday had that block party-carnival vibe.
Julie Bielenberg/The Aspen Times

Amid the parade action, a meditative pause.
Julie Bielenberg/The Aspen Times

The parade marches into a full evening for First Friday.
Arn Menconi/For The Aspen Times

The Pride Parade at root is about the “Be You” message.
Julie Bielenberg/The Aspen Times

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