Snowmass Village’s Dave and Barb Peckler named Mardi Gras royalty
Longtime locals crowned king and queen for 40th annual Fat Tuesday celebration
For Dave and Barb Peckler, the title of Mardi Gras King and Queen in Snowmass Village is an honor both flattering and overwhelming.
“It’s like whoa, OK, big shoes to fill,” Barb said in a joint interview with Dave at Town Hall last week.
The two longtime town employees — Barb is the court clerk and office manager; Dave is the transportation director — are now in the company of a list of Fat Tuesday royalty that includes town mainstays like former town clerk Rhonda Coxon (2009), former Mayor Markey Butler (2013), the town’s first housing director Joe Coffey (2016) and frontline workers Scott Arthur and Nell Strijbos-Arthur (2021).
Big shoes, yes, but the Pecklers have certainly put in the time and effort to make them fit. Barb and Dave have been a part of the Snowmass Village community for more than four decades and have been a couple for nearly as long.
They met at The Stonebridge Inn around 1982. Barb worked at the hotel, which booked some promotional raft trips; Dave was a raft guide leading those trips.
Barb certainly made an impact when they first spent time together on a springtime employee raft trip along the upper Roaring Fork River, the couple joked.
“We were doing a trip down the upper Roaring Fork and the boat was not a self baler — we had a bail bucket to empty the boat of water, and I’m trying to row a boat that’s full of water and all this and I look over and Barb’s got her feet in the bucket,” David said.
(Barb, in her own defense, noted that this was pre-wetsuit-and-booties era and the water was “ice cold” — all the more so in sitting in water while wearing soaking-wet sneakers.)
“I left a lasting impression,” Barb said.
Four decades later, that much is clear. The Pecklers have stuck together, and stuck with Snowmass, too.
They’ve seen the town grow, and change, too, as more development cropped up and more local workers started to commute from downvalley communities.
“The environment and the people” have kept them here for the long haul, Barb said. “You have so many endless (opportunities) — we’re both super outdoorsy people and the endless choices you have for outdoor activities, and then the people we met … to this day are still our family.”
(Case in point: When they got married at the Timbermill, the town was so tight-knit that they decided to invite the entire population of Snowmass Village rather than curate a guest list.)
“When you say small town, that’s how small it was,” Dave said.
Mardi Gras, too, has changed over the years. Gone are the days of the parade on the Snowmass Mall and a rowdier Fat Tuesday crowd, the Pecklers noted, but still, some long running events and traditions like the Mother of All Ascensions uphill race continue.
“It’s going to take a while to build back up to it. … It’s evolving,” Barb said.
But it also looks to be making a comeback, she said, especially with Mardi Gras marking the “first big party” without pandemic restrictions in place.
“It’s going to be interesting,” Barb said. “I think that … people are going to go crazy, because they can get together.”
“I think it’s going to be a big celebration,” she added.
The newly minted royalty will preside over a bead toss at Snowmass Base Village on Tuesday afternoon in conjunction with the town’s Mardi Gras festivities.
Music begins at 2:30 p.m. followed by the bead toss at 3:15 p.m. The Dip, a pop, rhythm and blues band from Seattle, will take the stage from 3:30-5 p.m. for the Bud Light HiFi Concert.
A fireworks display over Fanny Hill is scheduled for 9 p.m.
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