Mountain Fair celebrates togetherness |

Mountain Fair celebrates togetherness

Carla Jean Whitley

If you go

Mountain Fair

Saturday schedule

7 a.m. Mount Sopris Run Off race

9 a.m.-8 p.m. Oasis Carnival

9:30 a.m. All Music Together: Musical play for children and the young at heart.

10 a.m.: Crystal River Ballet performance

10:30 a.m.: Fly casting competition

10:30 a.m. Sopris Soarers performance

10:50 a.m.: A blessing by the Ganden Shartze Monks

11 a.m. Pie baking competition

11 a.m. Jazz Aspen Snowmass student showcase; Sopris Soarers aeril silk demo; Frank Martin Trio

Noon: Singles horseshoe competition

12:30 p.m. Valle Musico Quartet

1 p.m. Jeff and Paige Dougherty

1:30 p.m. Limbo contest

2 p.m. House of Joy/ Kaleidoscope Music

2:30 p.m. Jay Roemer Band

3:15 p.m. Youth limbo contest

4 p.m. Women’s woodsplitting competition; poetry slam

5 p.m. Undiluted poems; teen showcase

5:15 p.m. The Yawpers

6:15 p.m. Sleepy Justice

6:45 p.m.: The Edgerly Sisters Present: Water is Life

7:15 p.m. Undiluted poems

7:30 p.m. Josh Hoyer and Soul Colassal

Sopris Park, Carbondale | Free |

So much in today’s world is divisive: politics, sports allegiances, skiing versus snowboarding … But this weekend’s Mountain Fair aims to bring diverse people together in Carbondale. That’s been the art festival’s mission for 46 years.

“In the West, from pioneer days, people had to help one another,” said festival founder Laurie Loeb. “We can’t do things alone. We can’t pay for everything that needs to be done. You give of yourself.”

The annual event continues today, with a full slate of competitions, performances and music.

More than 300 volunteers bring the festival to life. Carbondale Arts oversees the event, and volunteers help sell T-shirts, serve as Peace Patrol to keep order, volunteer on the green team and serve as backstage security, among other duties.

“It’s just a great opportunity for Carbondale to come together and for people to experience it, whether you live in Carbondale or it’s your first time,” said Andrea Stewart, president of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce.

The fair was founded on that local spirit. The Colorado Council on Arts and Humanities visited Carbondale in the early ’70s and offered a traveling Chautauqua. Loeb and others thought the idea appealing but wanted to highlight local artists. The first Mountain Fair featured about 20 booths and music.

“The fact that so many people can come together, happily and peacefully, is one of the things that’s very special,” Loeb said. “People have a sense of ownership. That contributes to the peacefulness and success of it.”

“It’s funny, I was telling a newcomer to the valley about the fair and about the drum circle,” Loeb said with a laugh. “He’s from the East Coast. He said, ‘Oh my God, if you get that many people together where I come from, they fight.’ ”

Stewart said more than 20,000 people will pass through the festival gates.

That’s exciting for the festival, but it’s also financially significant for the town. The town’s lodging fills up during Mountain Fair weekend, and both sales and lodging taxes are vital.

“It really helps replenish the tank, if you will,” Stewart said.

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