PHOTOS: Glenwood Springs celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with ‘Noche Latina’

Glenwood Springs kicked honored Hispanic Heritage Month with its Noche Latina celebration at Bethel Plaza on Saturday. The event included games, family activities, dancing and live music.

Son de la Zona performs for residents at Bethel Plaza for Noche Latina during Glenwood Springs’ Hispanic Heritage Month.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent
A couple dances and enjoys the band Son de la Zona at Bethel Plaza for Noche Latina during Glenwood Springs’ Hispanic Heritage Month.
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A family plays volleyball on Seventh Street, next to Bethel Plaza for Noche Latina during Glenwood Springs’ Hispanic Heritage Month.
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Kids playing cornhole on Seventh Street druing Noche Latina.
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Families play cornhole on Seventh Street during Noche Latina.
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Families dance at Bethel Plaza during Noche Latina.
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Saturday night during Noche Latina, residents danced at Bethel Plaza.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent

‘Rabbit Hole’ premieres at Thunder River Theatre

The Thunder River Theatre Company is proud to present their opening season of 2023-2024 on Friday with “Rabbit Hole” by David Lindsay-Abaire. The TRTC’s rendition is directed by Missy Moore. 

Becca and Howie Corbett have everything a family could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. “Rabbit Hole” charts their bittersweet search for comfort in the darkest of places and for a path that will lead them back into the light of day, the release states. 

“Rabbit Hole” first premiered on Broadway in January of 2006. It received five Tony awards, one of which was for Best Play, and won the Pulitzer for Drama in 2007, TRTC’s dramaturg Kayla Henley noted.

Rabbit Hole explores one of the most painful and universal human experiences — grief — with poignancy, nuance and humor,” Henley said. “Through the snapshot of a single family’s loss, we see the complex nature of grief and how it refuses to be packaged neatly.”

Eleven performances of the play will take place between Sep. 15 and Oct. 1 (Thunder River Theater is located at 67 Promenade, Carbondale):

  • 7:30 p.m.Thursdays 
  • 7:30 p.m. Fridays 
  • 7:30 p.m. Saturdays 
  • 2 p.m. Sundays – talkback scheduled following performance on Sep. 24

The cast is as follows:

  • Toddy Walters — Becca
  • Mark Millhone — Howie 
  • Brittany Crooke —  Izzy
  • Libby Rife — Nat
  • Ricky Perez — Jason 

This is Millhone, Crooke and Perez’s main-stage debut at TRTC. 

Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 970-963-8200.

Blues guitarist Coco Montoya performs in Rifle on Sept. 22

Coco Montoya comes to Ute Theater and Events Center in Rifle on Sept. 22 to play a live performance to celebrate his newest album, “Writing on the Wall,” a press release states. 

The guitarist, singer and songwriter was mentored by legendary guitarist Albert Collins and spent a decade with John Mayall, an English guitarist known for his collaborations with Eric Clapton. This resulted in a hard-edged sound and style that is all Montoya’s own within the blues-rock genre. 

Since Montoya’s debut album in 1995 won him the Blues Music Award for Best New Artist, he’s stayed at the top of the blues world from a combination of his inventive guitar work and passionate, hard-hitting vocals, the release states. 

Montoya is already calling “Writing on the Wall” as one of the best records he’s ever made — he brought the band who stays with him on the road into the recording room with him for the first time. 

Made up of noted keyboardist and songwriter Jeff Paris, who has worked with notable blues artists, Keb’ Mo’ and Bill Withers, bassist Nathan Brown and drummer Rena Beavers, the results of this collaboration have left Montoya “over the moon,” he said in the release.

Tickets for Montoya’s performance are $30-$50. The address of the venue, Ute Theater, is 132 E. 4th St., in Rifle. He will be performing at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22. For more information about the performance, visit Ute Theater’s website at

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify the date of his performance.

If you go…

What: Coco Montoya performance

Where: Ute Theater, 132 E. 4th St.

When: Doors open at 6:30 p.m., showtime at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22

How much: $30-$50

National clay exhibit featured at Carbondale Clay Center for First Friday

Carbondale Clay Center is having their national exhibit of ceramic art, Clay National XVII: The Autobiography of the Object. 

“It has always been my conceit that ceramics is a perfect medium for recording thoughts, feelings and emotions,” said juror Sam Harvey. “The scope of this juried exhibition will be to gather the diversity of voices found in the ceramic field with artwork ranging from an intimately small, beautiful cup, to wall tiles, to sculptural objects, etc.”

The CCC Gallery is hosting their annual event starting Sept. 1, during First Friday, according to a news release.

Each year, CCC’s selected jurors develop a theme for the exhibition, invite a handful of contemporary ceramic artists who emulate the theme and choose about 25-30 works (scale dependent) from the jury pool, the release states. 

“Through the physical act of making and delineating comes a record of an artist’s voice, as well as their viewpoint,” Harvey said. “I have always been curious about the process in which idea becomes a reflective object.”

Awards will be given for Best in Show, Staff Selection and People’s Choice. 

“The consideration for this jurying process will focus on work that is conscious and cognizant of current and historical cultural landscapes,” Harvey said.  

Clay National XVII will be available for in-person viewing at the CCC Gallery and online until Sept. 29. The First Friday opening reception is from 6-8 p.m. 

CCC Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

“Knowledge of ceramic processes is shared through class and workshop offerings, residencies, lectures, gallery exhibits and programs that reach out to schools and special groups,” the release states.  

If you go…

What: Clay National XVII: The Autobiography of the Object

When: 6-8 p.m. Sept. 1Where: Carbondale Clay Center Gallery, 135 Main St. in Carbondale

Enjoy an ambrosia of arts at Grovestock Festival this weekend

Sunlight Ski Resort hosts the second-annual Grovestock Festival Friday through Sunday. 

The three-day, two-night event is a festival of arts, music and movement.

Grovestock, which is pronounced like an aspen “grove,” started when Auston Tribble and a bunch of friends began to host a yearly party in the woods. Tribble and his friends, who worked in the audio/video production (A/V) field at the time, would host local musicians, thanks to their access to production and sound equipment. One year, things really took off, which led Sunlight to eventually host the festival.

This year will be Grovestock’s biggest production to date, featuring three stages and multiple events. Two tents and the main stage will be connected by an art walk and hammock forest. The events will include yoga, a sound bath, a hula-hoop workshop and ecstatic dance. 

The festival is a place for the whole family to enjoy. The Rainbow Lightening Children’s Village features such events as tie-dying and face painting, sewing sessions, sustainability workshops and an open mic where children can show their talent.

Musicians perform live at Grovestock Festival at Sunlight Mountain Ski Resort in 2022.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

For the late-night party animals, electronic dance music will play at night on the main stage until 3 a.m.

Local DJs can be seen playing throughout the grounds, with live music on the main stage. The live music will feature both local and national artists, such as Peach Street Revival, Black Wolf Sound, Braxx, and Whiskey Stomp, among others. 

Grovestock has always put a focus on promoting local artists. 

“We are trying to promote everyone who has that edge,” said Tribble, who is the Creative Director of Grovestock. 

“Growing up in the valley, I saw a lot of people who have given up on their dreams,” he added. “I feel like this is a platform in which to inspire local artists to continue to do everything they can; to show that if they are determined, patient and work hard, anything is possible.” 

The Grovestock Festival is a place where people can connect through expression and adventure, whether that is live music and events during the day, or EDM and dancing at night. 

Tickets and more information can be found at

If you go…

What: Grovestock Festival
When: Friday-Sunday
Where: Sunlight Mountain Resort, 10901 Garfield County Road 117, Glenwood Springs
How much: Full weekend tickets are $190. Parking, camping and day pass prices vary.
More information:

El Dorado opens its doors in Carbondale, adding a new chapter to an old legacy

El Dorado, the newest addition to the Carbondale bar scene, is making waves not just for its signature cocktails and vibrant atmosphere, but for the rich history encapsulated within its walls. 

Located at 358 Main St., the bar officially opened on Aug. 16, a symbolic date mirroring the town’s zip code: 81623.

“This building has a ton of history to it,” Owner Michael Arnold said. “It’s been a saloon. It’s been a million different things. You can see some of the metal patching in the floor where they used to patch bullet holes back in the day.”

Arnold’s journey with El Dorado started unexpectedly. After securing the building, previously housing Batch Provisions, in late January, he was initially unsure about the path ahead.

“The short story is I wanted to do something for Carbondale,” Arnold said. “I wanted to give something special to this community but I didn’t know what I wanted it to be. I never thought it would be a bar.”

The final concept became clearer when Arnold saw a need on Main Street.

The entrance to El Dorado, which was formerly Batch Provisions, located at 358 Main St., Carbondale.
Taylor Cramer/Post Independent

“People were looking for a nice place to have a good bottle of wine, or a cocktail or a beer,” Arnold said. “We wanted a place with no TVs, where people want to get off their phones, and so that’s where we are today.”

With the recruitment of General Manager Ben Simonette and Bar Manager Jess Clutter, both of whom were working at a beach bar in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, the vision for El Dorado became more clear.

Simonette’s own journey to El Dorado had familial ties. He flew out to Carbondale after being referred by his uncle, Charlie Berger — the contractor for the bar.

“My interview was actually to go fly fishing,” Simonette said. “After the interview, they mentioned they needed another bartender. I mentioned it to Jess while we were cleaning bar mats one night and we were both in a good position for a life change. Now, here we are.”

Clutter found the new bar to be a natural extension of her persona. 

“If I was a bar, I would look like this place,” she said. “It’s a perfect fit for me.”

Beyond its experienced staff, El Dorado has a distinct ambiance. Chris Rullet, a fellow visionary of the bar alongside Arnold, pictured a blend of Carbondale’s western heritage with a psychedelic twist.

“We wanted to make this an environment where the western heritage, specifically of Carbondale, meets a psychedelic feel,” Rullet said. “This place is extremely unique and I can’t really think of another place like this in the valley. We spent a lot of time on detail and people will be able to notice that when they walk in here.”

The mantra for El Dorado, “Stay Gold,” greets customers while they enter the back of the lounge.
Taylor Cramer/Post Indpedent

Musical choices further accentuate the bar’s vibe, promising tracks from artists like Tame Impala, Colter Wall, Khruangbin and A Tribe Called Quest. The bar’s mantra, “Stay Gold,” reflects its mission — to offer an authentic, inclusive and memorable experience. That mantra is also represented in the entrance to the bar, which consists of a large gold door.

Guests can savor locally-made Argentinian empanadas or partake in the bar’s weekly cocktail specials. And in a nod to affordability, a beer and shot combo is priced at just $7.

“We brought these bartenders in from across the country because they are already awesome people and then we sent them down to a bartender bootcamp and upped their cocktail game,” Arnold said. “They were already great bartenders but we wanted to make them that much better so that we can generate the best possible experience.”

El Dorado beckons with its rich past and a promising future, aiming to be a haven for everyone in the valley.

“This is not a corporation, but a family,” Arnold said. “Everyone here has bought into what we are doing. The people that we have brought in are here because they are creative and we know what they can bring to the table.”

The El Dorado bar features plenty of unique art from thrift stores throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.
Taylor Cramer/Post Independent

Now with its door open, Arnold said he is excited to see what other unique concepts flood Main Street in the near future.

“For the most part, this is a lounge which is something that you really can’t find on this street,” he added. “We are just one of the few places on this street hoping to make it better than it already is, and hopefully whoever comes after us also comes up with a great concept.”

For El Dorado events and news, follow @eldoradostaygold on Instagram.

Volunteers needed for wildfire preparedness in Garfield County

With increased concerns about wildfires, community members are being encouraged to train and volunteer for wildfire emergencies. 

The West Mountain Regional Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD) is seeking volunteers from Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle counties for training through the regional American Red Cross in order to be prepared to help respond to live incidents, according to a news release.

“We want to ensure that our communities have people on the ground ready to act,” said Valerie Carlin, co-chair of West Mountain COAD and Aspen Community Foundation’s senior director of community impact, in the release. 

In cases of an emergency, people want to help but there is usually a lack of qualified and trained volunteers available, Carlin said. 

West Mountain Regional COAD is a collaborative in partnership with High Country Volunteers to create an effective response for people in Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle counties. 

“We are the communities we serve and when the time comes, we mobilize with precision and heart,” Carlin said in the release.

West Mountain Regional COAD was founded by the Aspen Community Foundation, and made up of regional agencies, organizations and individuals working together in preparation for and in response to local disasters. This helps the agencies to come together to communicate, coordinate, collaborate and cooperate, according to the release.

It also helps to maximize limited resources, manage real-time operations and eliminate unnecessary duplication.

“With the scorching heat and wildland fire season upon us, we need to be prepared,” said Jill Pidcock, co-chair of West Mountain COAD and Arc of the Central Mountain’s Executive Director. “Everyone in our community will benefit if we take the time to consider all elements regarding preparedness, response and recovery.” 

West Mountain COAD works to prepare for the worst by training local volunteers and coordinating with regional emergency management teams and public and private partners to be prepared.

“We also know that sometimes, counties are focused on their coverage areas, but we as a COAD have the ability to support efforts in multiple counties and we want to be an organized and useful resource to our Emergency Management Teams,” said Pidcock in the release.

Local training event:

Mass Care Shelter Training for New Volunteers

Aug. 30, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Third Street Center, 20 S. 3rd St.

To learn more or get involved with West Mountain Regional COAD, visit

If you go…

Mass Care Shelter Training for New Volunteers

Aug. 30, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Third Street Center, 20 S. 3rd St.

To learn more or get involved with West Mountain Regional COAD, visit

PHOTOS: A colorful Carbondale Mountain Fair

The stage for Mountain Fair 2023.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent
Carbondale Mountain Fair 2023.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent
Carbondale Police Department right before losing the tug-of-war competition between them and the Fire Department.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent
Carbondale Chief of Police Kirk Wilson joking with some fair goers about making first place losers.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent
Carbondale Mountain Fair 2023.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent
Song Writing Contest at Mountain Fair 2023.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent
The band plays for the crowd at Mountain Fair 2023.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent
Kendall Riley slices into a log of wood at Mountain Fair 2023.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent
One wood splitting competitor runs out to fan another in between swings.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent
Man spraying people with water at Carbondale Mountain Fair 2023.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent
Carbondale Mountain Fair Men’s Wood Splitting Contest winner Matthew Langhorst.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent
Moon Hootch playing under a full moon at 2023 Mountain Fair.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent

A new concept of womanhood: Testing strengths through wood splitting at Carbondale Mountain Fair

Each year, Carbondale’s Mountain Fair has a competition of the toughest residents in the area — the Women’s Wood Splitting competition. 

Although there is also an exciting Men’s Wood Splitting competition at Mountain Fair, there is something especially inspiring about watching women in fun costumes annihilate large pieces of wood while the crowd goes wild.

“I’m so happy that I feel like in the last five to 10 years the idea of womanhood is really growing,”  said Kim Pedersen, second place winner of the Women’s Wood Splitting last year at Mountain Fair.

This is a big change from growing up in the 1990s, when there was a more stereotypical idea of what it means to be a woman, like having to be pretty, quiet and never taking up too much space, Pedersen said. 

“We are more so embracing this polar idea of women as being strong and confident and fun and silly,” she said. “I feel like the wood splitting competition is really putting that all on display. It’s more so for me what it means to be a woman.”

Pedersen is in her sixth year of competing after originally starting because women before her inspired her to try it. 

“I always thought that they were so cool and I really just wanted to hang out with them,” Pedersen said. 

Olivia Pevec, a wood splitting competitor for around 20 years and five-time winner, said she started competing in 1999, and has only missed a couple competitions over the years. 

Olivia Pevec gives it her all during the Women’s Wood Splitting competition Saturday afternoon at the 51st Carbondale Mountain Fair.
John Stroud/Post Independent

“Wood splitting is for everyone and it’s actually been fun to see how the women’s competition has kind of bled some of that over to the men’s,” Pevec said.

Pevec competed with the men last year, where she said she had fun, but she’s excited to compete with the women again this year. 

“If I accomplished anything, splitting with the men last year, maybe it was just a little one little brick kicked out of the wall,” Pevec said. 

Both Pevec and Pedersen said they did not do much training for the competition, but wood chopping was not a foreign chore for them. Pevec works as a local blacksmith and Pedersen got her original chops as a wood splitter working at Rock Bottom Ranch a few years back.

“I’m wondering if I prepare for both competitions in the same way, which is mostly just to try to stay calm,” Pevec said, who is also competing in the song writing competition for Mountain Fair. 

“I don’t think I split wood since the last competition,” Pedersen said. “I rely on luck and I do feel like it’s somewhat the luck of the draw with the wood that you get.”

At the end of the day, a lot of what decides the winner does seem to be luck. Some years, the wood will be wet, making it harder for both the men’s and women’s competitions.

Everyone also works with different techniques. They all get to use a second, bigger log to set the wood they are splitting on top of. Some don’t use the log, some use the side of it, some use the center, like Pedersen. 

“I’m always really impressed with Olivia Pevec, I feel like she’s a legendary superstar of the wood splitting competition,” Pedersen said. “She is just so strong and will kind of go right down the middle, which is really impressive.”

Pevec said she has some techniques for chopping but didn’t think she had anything too structured, especially when working with the wet wood. The wet wood really does change the whole atmosphere though. 

“I think we’ve all got to the point where we’re like, wait, this is not nearly as much fun as when the wood goes flying, and everyone gets that wonderful crack of well cured wood,” Pevec said. 

Striking where the wood is already split and practicing to know the weight of the ax and how to support it were two main suggestions Pevec had for beginners. 

The competition is open to all, and although it is competitive, there is still a strong feeling of community and support in it, along with straight silliness. Both Pevec and Pedersen said they loved the silliness and how it made them feel womanly. 

“It’s a place for expression, self expression,” Pevec said.

Gender is also not the main focus of the competition, anyone nonbinary, gender fluid or trans are also welcome to compete, Pedersen said.

“I think it’s a choose your own gender event,” Pevec said. 

Most competitors dress up and if someone is taking too long splitting their wood, supporters come help them. The goal is just to have a good time. 

Be sure to catch both women competing at 4 p.m. Saturday at Mountain Fair, and also be sure to catch Pevec performing music around town.

Celebrate Disability Pride Month Wednesday in Glenwood Springs

Disability Pride Celebration and Rally for Disability Pride Month is happening Wednesday at the Bluebird Cafe in Glenwood Springs

July is Disability Pride Month, and Cook Inclusive Company, the Arc of Central Mountains and Mountain Valley Developmental Services are putting on a full  and inclusive celebration, along with a march for it in downtown Glenwood.

The event will start at 4:30 p.m. and there will be free food and drinks and resources, while connecting with your local disability community, a press release from Cook Inclusive company states.  

Sensory headphones as well as Spanish and American Sign Language interpretation services will be provided.

The Bluebird Cafe is Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.

“This is an opportunity for us to really highlight the community and show that we are here to support you,” said Kaleb Cook, therapeutic and recreation supervisor for Glenwood Springs. “We are here to hear your voices. And we’re here to make changes to make positive impacts to better support you within our community.” 

This year marks 33 years since the ADA was first passed by Congress and signed into law by then-President George H. W. Bush. The act was created after years of advocacy, protesting, lobbying, filing lawsuits and speaking out to be seen as equals free from discrimination.  

Come join the Bluebird Cafe and Cook Inclusive Company in celebrating the passing of the ADA, while spending time with fellow members of the community.