Carbondale gets back to May tradition with lots of student talent on display for First Friday

The evening sun gleams off rainbow flags worn by participants in last year’s Carbondale Gender Sexualities Alliance Pride Parade, held as part of First Fridays on Sept. 3, 2021. The parade and Family Block Party celebration return to their usual May First Friday slot, this Friday.
John Stroud/Post Independent file

Carbondale’s May First Friday event marks the return of a popular showcase of student artistic talent with the 10th Family Block Party celebration and community Pride Parade.

A trimmed-down block party took place during the September First Friday in 2021 as the pandemic restrictions started to ease. But the event has traditionally taken place as part of the May First Friday as a way to celebrate youth and the various organizations that serve families as the end of the school year nears.

The celebration happens from 4-8 p.m. Friday on the Fourth Street Plaza in Carbondale, where there will be music and other performances on the youth stage, arts and crafts, carnival games and other activities.

The annual Pride Parade, organized by the Carbondale Middle and Roaring Fork High schools Gender Sexualities Alliance (GSA), gathers at 5:15 p.m. at the corner of Second and Main streets. The parade begins at 5:30 p.m.

“Admission is free, but we do have a suggested donation of $10, and 100% of the proceeds go back to organizations in our community,” event organizer Michelle Marlow said. “Once people are in, every vendor booth will have an activity for kids.”

The event also features local food for purchase from several vendors and, for adults, the Block Party Beer & Spirit Garden will have local beers and cocktails.

Among the beneficiaries are the GSA clubs, Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program, Angel Tree: Seasons of Giving, Colorado Animal Rescue, FocusedKids, LIFT-UP, Rita B. Endowment Fund and Smiling Goat Ranch.

Downtown Carbondale is adorned with rainbow banners in anticipation of the First Friday Family Block Party and Pride Parade.
John Stroud/Post Independent

“We are also pleased to present the Pride Parade in conjunction with our local GSAs at the middle and high schools,” said Marlow, whose daughter, Payton, helped launch the club at CMS and who is now a freshman at RFHS.

Marlow describes the club as a “next generation LGBTQ racial and gender justice organization that advocates for safer schools and healthier communities.

“It’s so great to live in a community where we can have a family block party, and a pride parade all in one,” Marlow said. “The premise, as our shirts say, is ‘Be You’ and to be proud of who you are and to accept others for who they are.”

The Fourth Street Plaza in downtown Carbondale hosts the annual First Friday Family Block Party, this Friday, May 6, including lots of youth talent on display.
John Stroud/Post Independent

In addition, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will be on hand with its mobile COVID-19 vaccine bus, which will be situated on Main Street, said Katie Montie with the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, organizers of the First Friday events.

“It’s free, and people can make appointments or walk up … no ID, insurance card or appointment needed,” Montie said. “The bus will also be at the Rec Center during the day.”

Rotary ball drop

First Friday also features the second Rotary Club of Carbondale/Ace Hardware Fireball Drop, taking place on the Weant Boulevard side of Sopris Park at 5 p.m.

Balls for the fundraising event can still be purchased up until shortly beforehand from any Carbondale Rotarian or partner organizations, including YouthZone, Stepping Stones, the Roaring Fork Valley Soccer Club and the Roaring Fork Pickleball Association.

Around 1,000 ping-pong type balls will be dropped from a bucket atop the Carbondale Fire Department’s ladder truck onto targets on the ground. The owner of whichever ball lands in the center target will win a $5,000 grand prize.

Proceeds benefit Carbondale Rotary’s scholarships program for graduating high school seniors, Rotary Youth Exchange, Rotary Youth Leadership Academy and the club’s various community and international projects and grants.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or

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