NEW CASTLE — Don’t be surprised to see beds rolling down Main Street Saturday.
As part of the 40th annual Burning Mountain Festival, the rowdy bed races are back after the parade marches through New Castle’s downtown Saturday morning.
“The Bed Race Competition will follow the parade,” said Leah Feeley, of the New Castle Chamber. “Participants will race to the end of Main Street on their individually crafted beds on wheels.”
The festival — honoring New Castle’s 125th anniversary this year — begins at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, in Burning Mountain Park with valley food and craft vendors, a beer and wine garden and live music. John Noel and Joe Brown open the show, followed by headliner Miss Emily and Project Groove.
Feeley said the funky Grand Junction jazz trio will play for three hours to close out the evening.
Miss Emily is a Western Slope singer, pianist and guitarist, who will be joined Friday night by Project Groove, comprising guitarist John Schultz and bass guitar player Steve Williams.
Saturday morning starts out with pancakes at 8 a.m. with the Lion’s Club breakfast at the New Castle Recreation Center.
“The breakfast goes from 8-10 a.m.,” Feeley said. “Or until we’re sold out of pancakes.”
The annual Burning Mountain Festival parade starts at 10 a.m. with approximately 300 participants taking over Main Street for an hour.
“There will be horses, dancing, cloggers, fire trucks, motorized bicycles, and more,” Feeley said.
After the parade, festivalgoers can step back in time for a classic car and motorcycle show. Vintage rides will be parked on Main Street across from Burning Mountain Park. A carnival for the kids will be located on Second Street.
“There will be face painting, a bouncy house, duck pond, zombie golf, tower ring toss, clown and hair salon,” Feeley said.
While the kids love the bouncy house, it’s the contests throughout the day on Saturday that make the Burning Mountain Festival an annual family tradition. The always popular pie-eating, horseshoe and wood chopping contests keep the entire family busy with the crowds cheering on. Saturday’s entertainment includes live music by valley bands Fifty/50, the Starlettes, Leveraction and the Missing Link Band.
New Castle Library’s book sale and silent auction takes place throughout the two-day festival. A Bike and Classic Car Poker Run to benefit the nonprofit New Castle River Center begins and ends in downtown New Castle as well.
“Participants will cruise around the valley to try and win the best poker hand, which will result in a $200 prize,” Feeley said.
This year’s Burning Mountain Festival helps celebrate New Castle’s historic 125th anniversary. The long-running festival was named for the underground coal mines that still smolder inside the nearby hillsides, according to the New Castle Chamber. In its beginnings, the Burning Mountain Festival was most commonly referred to as Burning Mountain Days, a name still used by locals.