Fair commentary in Carbondale | PostIndependent.com

Fair commentary in Carbondale

Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox It was a hot time at the Carbondale Mountain Fair Sunday afternoon. Festival-goers like Abby Appell (left), Michelle Miller, Rosie Sullivan and Sabrina Robinson sought shade and water during the heat of the day.

CARBONDALE – Carbondale Mountain Fair is known for its live music, its vendor market and its competitions -from cake baking to log splitting. This year was no different. As the 33rd Mountain Fair drew to a close Sunday, crowds followed the Mt. Sopris Jam Band as its members paraded through Sopris Park, while women and girls got their hair braided at Tricia Moore’s Happy Hairbraiding booth, and kids stuck their hands in Marta Benitez’s Wax Hands vat, making one-of-a-kind sculptures. Besides the belly dancers and baby strollers, though, an increasing trend was evident at this weekend’s fair: the event’s civic-mindedness.

This year for the first time, people could not only eat, drink and buy lots of artisan-made crafts, but they could register to vote, too. “Amy Kimberly fought to have us here,” said Tricia McKenzie of Aspen, who headed up the Rock the Vote booth. McKenzie said 2004 Mountain Fair director Kimberly supported the inclusion of the local chapter of Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that is part of a nationwide campaign to educate young people and register voters – especially young voters. “We’re not bringing politics to Mountain Fair,” McKenzie said. “We’re offering a service. It’s really hard for a lot of people to find the time to get to a courthouse that’s only open between 9:00 and 4:00, Monday through Friday, to register to vote. That’s why we’ve come to where the people are.”Rock the Vote did a brisk business during the weekend, generating a fistful of voter registrations from people all over the country by Sunday.”We’re able to register people from every state,” McKenzie said as a woman came up to the booth, and said she was from Ohio and wanted to register.

Calvin Lee of the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition said it was the first time his nonprofit had a booth at the fair. The group, which shared a booth with the Stepstone Center, said during the weekend they distributed a lot of brochures and the petitions regarding electoral reform and the military draft they had for people to sign. “We’re here to educate voters,” said Steve Campbell of the coalition. Besides the two booths, several candidates visited the fair over the weekend, mingling and chatting with people. On Sunday, Becky Rippy who’s running for Colorado House of Representative’s District 61, attended the fair.And on Saturday, a young man wearing a T-shirt with a big head shot of President Bush with the words “Some things just can’t be recycled” sold a number of the T’s before festival organizers shooed him off – not necessarily for what his T-shirts said but because he didn’t have a booth to sell them.

Mountain Fair is already known for its sense of civic responsibility. Recycling bins dotted the fair, and organizers encouraged people bring their own plates, flatware and cups to reduce the amount of trash. They also requested fair-goers turn their recycled paper programs back in at the gate for others to reuse before recycling. This year, booths weren’t only selling ceramics, jewelry and clothing. Out of 157 booths, more than a half-dozen were dedicated to nonprofit organizations. Besides Rock the Vote and the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition/Stepstone Center, Trout Unlimited, the Roaring Fork Conservancy, Hawkquest, Wilderness Workshop had booths at the fair. Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518cclick@postindependent.com

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