How can I not love Mountain Fair? |

How can I not love Mountain Fair?

April E. Clark
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April in Glenwood

There are certain moments in life I can look forward to every year. Christmas is a good one. I know I will see my friends and family.

And eat exorbitant amounts of ham.

The running of the world-famous Indianapolis 500 has never let me down, either. Now that is a party, whether I’m at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or watching it with friends on Colorado. I’m also partial to St. Patrick’s Day.

That one is better experienced in Boston.

One event I know I will always attend as long as I physically can is the annual Carbondale Mountain Fair. This festival is unlike any other I’ve attended, and that’s saying a lot since I really like to go to festivals.

One of my favorites from back home on the eastside of Indianapolis is the Holy Spirit Festival. Catholic fundraising shindigs are all right by me, especially because of the beer garden and raffle action. I have yet to win big, but at least I know I can always go back to Indy in July and put my money in the pot.

I can also talk the carnival guy into a free ride on the bumper cars.

Mountain Fair may not have rides erected in a day and carnival dudes, but it is the best time I experience every summer in Colorado.

The fair attracts nationally touring bands that blow me away every year. This year, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, from Brown County, Ind., played an amazing set that definitely had the crowd on their feet. Since he was a fellow Hoosier, I had to go introduce myself to the Reverend. Things got a little awkward since I lost my voice at this year’s fair. He could barely hear me and probably thought I was super weird.

Mix a bout of summer sinusitis, talking on the mic as emcee on Saturday, and talking over the music all weekend, and that’s a recipe for a voice that sounds as raspy as Janis Joplin’s. Just her talking voice, though.

I’ll never be able to sing like Janis.

I will always remember that the 2012 Mountain Fair was the year I lost my voice. I honestly felt like I was going to lose my mind. That’s mostly because I like to talk to people. So imagine my despair, as I would go to open my mouth and squeaky, hushed words tried to manage their way out of my mouth. Of course I had to repeat myself. A lot. And I had to try and speak as loudly as I could right up in people’s ears.

Nope, that’s not awkward at all.

Most people immediately assumed that losing my voice was a direct result of the parties that happen all Mountain Fair weekend. And do they happen. I did go to a pretty sweet house dance party with a DJ Saturday night so maybe that didn’t help. Although I could still speak on Saturday, Sunday ensured I would not be having normal conversations with people the rest of the fair.

I hear the raspy voice is sexy, so maybe I’m a trendsetter.

Luckily I didn’t need a voice to live out my pre-teen fantasy of being a baton twirler in a marching band. Carbondale has some creative folks who never let talent go to waste. Hence the Carbondale Renegade Marching was born.

This is not the serious, competition-level marching bands I grew up with in Indiana. This is a bunch of laidback, tie dye-wearing musicians, dancers, and stilt walkers who consider the 20-piece March Fourth Marching Band the creme of the marching band crop.

I always secretly wanted to be the Purdue Golden Girl at my college. So twirling with the Carbondale Renegade Marching Band is one of those pipe dreams I never thought would really happen in life. Much like everything I do in Colorado.

I never would have predicted all the fun stuff I’m able to do with the arts.

I may not be able to pull off cool Golden Girl tricks when I twirl. And I unfortunately do not have the gold sequined outfit and white marching boots in my possession. But you never know, it could happen.

But I can at least twirl a baton and emcee the main stage at Mountain Fair, the place where all my magical summer dreams happen, year after year.

With or without a voice.

– “April in Glenwood” appears every Wednesday. April E. Clark is gargling with salt water while she types. She can be reached at

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