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Get your spuds ready for a Marble Mash themed Potato Day

Potato Day volunteers extract racks of potatoes from a below-ground cooking pit in Sopris Park, Carbondale during the 2021 Potato Day festival.
Ike Fredregill/Post Independent

Saturday will be the 113th celebration for Carbondale’s longest running tradition, Potato Day. 

This year’s theme is “Marble Mash” in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln Memorial, which was built from marble mined in the nearby Crystal River Valley town of Marble. 

“Colorado actually was the leading producer of potatoes from about the late 1800s to around the 1940s,” said Sue Gray, president of the Carbondale Historical Society board.



The weekend will kick off by bringing back the Community Contra Dance on Friday night. The actual Potato Day festival will start on Saturday on Main Street and at Sopris Park.

“The potato day dance was famous for young people meeting and falling in love and eventually getting married from meeting at the Potato Day dance,” Gray said. 



Saturday morning will start with the Rotary Club pancake breakfast at Fourth and Main, and festivities will continue with the Ross Montessori School’s “Tater Trot” fun run, a parade, online and day-of contests, a community barbecue, live music, cowboy coffee, an end-of-season harvest Farmers’ and Artisans Market as well as a Youth Gymkhana at the rodeo grounds.

“One of the things that was so great about Potato Day was it brought people in the community together who wouldn’t normally be able to see each other because everyone lived miles apart back then,” Gray said. “When they would all come together into town for Potato Day, it was a big social event.”

Courtesy Poster for Potato Day

There will also be fun activities like old-fashioned Potato Day games like potato sack races plus cowboy coffee — the way the cowboys used to drink it on the ranch, Gray said. 

“The barbecue lunches are what people come for,” she said. “It’s great to be able to sit with your neighbors and friends and enjoy local beef and local potatoes, just the ways it’s been for 113 years.”

The Lincoln Memorial was made with marble from the Colorado Yule Marble Company, which was founded by George Yule when he was prospecting for gold and silver in the Ragged Mountain Range. Instead, he found a vein of pure white marble in the 1870s. He didn’t end up doing anything with the vein, but the company was still named after him, Gray said.

The marble company was awarded the contract in 1914, using 1,800 stones that weighed 10 to 30 tons. Those stones created the 36 columns that represented the 36 states that were part of the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death in 1865, according to the release.

It took 600 train cars to transport the finished marble to the nation’s capital. Gray said that rail tracks used to run throughout the valleys, but many of the old tracks were used for metal during the world wars.

The Lincoln Memorial is located on the western end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and contains a large, seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln. The memorial was officially dedicated in May 1922, according to the release.

If you go …

Friday Sept. 30

7:30-10 p.m. — Community Contra Dance

Community Hall, Third Street Center

$10

Saturday Oct. 1

8-10 a.m. — Rotary Pancake Breakfast, Fourth Street Plaza Park; $10, or $15 for potato pancakes

9 a.m.  — Tater Trot 5K and one-mile fun run (registration begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 8:45 a.m.), Fourth Street Plaza Park on Main Street

All ages with costumes encouraged

Sopris Park

9 a.m.- 3 p.m. — Farmer’s Market and Cowboy Coffee; KDNK Radio Annual Record Sale

10:30 a.m. — Potato Day Parade, Main Street from Second Street to Seventh Street. The theme is ‘Marble Mash’

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. — Rosybelle Bus arts, crafts and activities

11:15 a.m. — Statue Contest

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. — Live Music from Dan and Pam

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Barbeque and baked potato lunch; $10 kids, $15 adults

1 p.m. — Announcements of parade winners, potato carving contest winners by Parade MC

1:05 p.m. — Old Fashioned Traditional Potato Day kids’ Games

1:15 – 3 p.m. — Live Music from the Hell Roaring String Band from the gazebo

2 – 5 p.m. — Youth Gymkhana, Gus Darien rodeo grounds on County Road 100


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