Festival draws families, returning natives | PostIndependent.com

Festival draws families, returning natives

Zononoka Marimba, playing music rooted in Zimbabwe, performs Saturday morning at Mountain Fair in Carbondale.
Ryan Summerlin/Post Independent | Ryan Summerlin/Post Independent

A sunny second day of Carbondale’s signature event filled Sopris Park with music, families, food and festivities.

Many festivalgoers said they were coming from out of town, some who’ve made Mountain Fair a not-to-be-missed tradition and some who were returning for the first time in years.

Salida artist Lindsay Sutton, visiting with her husband Aaron Stephens, had her work on display amongst the vendor booths during their fifth Mountain Fair.

“We love the whole vibe; the community is great and always remembers us and wants us to come back,” said Aaron.

This year Aaron is defending his title in the men’s wood splitting competition after having placed first last year.

“This is our favorite event of the summer,” said Lindsay. “It’s just got good juju.”

“It’s the friendliest event that we do” – not to mention that it produces Sutton’s highest gross sales of the summer.

Musicians from a variety of cultures took the stage for festivalgoers who were dancing and kicking back on blankets in the grass.

Kids tried their hand in a fly-casting competition. Hula-hoopers put their hips to work. Children donned face paint. Many people took refuge from the heat in shade tents, one of which had several people lying on padded tables while masseurs worked on their backs and limbs.

In the kids section of the festival was also a bouncy castle. Parents also placed their children in huge beach balls and gave them the Sisyphean task of running in a pool.

Jessica Hemingson, a Carbondale native, who now lives in Denver with her young family, came back to visit her hometown.

She and her husband, Adam, said they don’t miss an opportunity to stock up on Colorado Mountain Honey, which was available at the fair.

The Hemingsons planned to get out for a hike, spend time by the river and enjoy escaping the crowds of Denver, said Adam.

Kristen and Nate Baier were exploring the festival with their one-year-old son, Bennett, having just moved from Denver to Carbondale a month ago.

Looking at the event with fresh eyes, the family said they loved the kid friendly activities and reasonably priced art.

Sharon Johnson was enjoying her 39th Mountain Fair with her sister-in-law, Jennifer Hunt, and said she was going on about 27 Mountain Fairs.

“Once you’ve started coming you can’t break the tradition,” said Johnson. “It’s fun because it’s local.”

And many people who grew up in Carbondale and moved away return for the festival, so it’s often like a mini reunion, she said.

The event also draws lots of return vendors, but each year there’s something new, said Hunt.

Stuart and Katie Fox were also with their daughter Nora, who was just old enough to get her first face painting.

Katie, another Carbondale native, joked that her mother used to say Mountain Fair is where you see the hippies gone to seed.

The event brings out the culture and art that the town is known for, she said.

Stuart, originally from Fort Collins, said Mountain Fair draws all aspects of the community and always feels welcoming and family-centric.

Mountain Fair is where the things that make Carbondale special really shine, said Carbondale Trustee Ben Bohmfalk, who was almost unrecognizable in his Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses and wide brimmed straw hat. “I’m in Mountain Fair mode,” he said.

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