Rain, hail don’t dampen Carbondale Mountain Fair spirit
Post Independent intern
Saturday of the Carbondale Mountain Fair 2018 saw showers of rain and hail interrupt the women’s woodsplitting contest, which got off to an inauspicious start. Four contestants into the festive, highly-attended competition, lightning put the show to a temporary end as contestants and viewers alike ran for cover from the downpour.
The contest did resume a little over an hour later, as Janae Jochum of Carbondale won this year’s contest with a time of 17.35 seconds. Jochum, a fifth-generation Carbondale native, is celebrating her 20-year Roaring Fork High School reunion this Mountain Fair. The two runners-up, with times of 19.55 seconds and 21.82 seconds respectively, also were Carbondale natives.
While the woodsplitting competition is always a crowd pleaser, the fair had several hits Saturday. One such favorite was the band The Habits, which took the stage to start the afternoon. Playing several original and cover rock tunes, the Carbondale-based band features locals Nikki Miller on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Rob Miller on lead guitar, Frank Botti on bass and Billy Jensen on drums. The four-piece powerhouse group provided a rock-and-roll early afternoon not seen at every Mountain Fair.
“We love playing at the fair,” Rob said. “We thank Amy [Kimberly] and everybody at CCAH for showing up.
The band took the stage at the Carbondale Beer Works at 9 p.m. to wrap up the Saturday festivities.
Fair Director Amy Kimberly was one of several “pollinators” carrying on this year’s theme of flowers, pollinators and fruit backstage. Several Mountain Fair-goers sported bee, butterfly, hummingbird and other pollen-celebratory costumes throughout Saturday.
“It’s always magical how these things come together,” Kimberly said. She said she had been worried about the heat, but thanks to the rain showers, the heat had been tolerable on Saturday. “Even the universe listens to us. People come and make things happen. I love it.”
The annual pie contest was another Saturday favorite. The pies were judged in three categories: fruit, cream and exotic, with one Best of Show pie to bring it all together. Gloria Wallace won first place in the cream category as well as Best of Show with her front porch lemon pie. Judy Harvey claimed first place in the exotic category with a peanut butter chocolate pie, while Dottie Rupp won the fruit category with a mixed berry pie.
Rupp said she’d entered the contest last year, but hadn’t even come close to winning. “It was the saddest-looking pie,” she said. This year, she came full circle to win first place in fruit, and hopes to win Best of Show next year.
Harvey, on the other hand, has entered the pie contest over 30 times. This year was her first entry since 2012, which had been her 30th year in a row. She also has entered the cake contest several times, and said she used to stay up two nights in a row to bake her delicacies.
“I always got at least one ribbon,” she said. “It makes me feel like part of the fair to do this.”
A favorite Mountain Fair vendor, Mark Ludy, has returned for the third year in a row to sell his children’s books and artwork. Ludy said he first came to Mountain Fair about 10 years ago, took a break, and then came back three years ago.
“This is an amazing community,” he said. “I love the people. I love being part of the community for a weekend.”
Ludy is excited to be releasing his own deck of playing cards, something he said he’s always wanted to create, which he calls Knucklehead. They are available for preorder on his website, markludy.com.
The fly-casting competition also took place on Saturday, and was won by Rob Wright of Carbondale. He placed his fly within 1/4 inch of the target.
Carbondale native Justin Scott claimed first place in the limbo contest. Scott also returned to Carbondale this year from Boston for his 20-year high school reunion, and he said that being short helped him in winning the limbo contest.
After Gasoline Lollipops, A.J. Fullerton, Down North and the Dance of the Sacred Fire wrapped up Saturday.
Mountain Fair will resume Sunday morning at 9 a.m. with Morning Yoga. The cake judging contest takes place at 11 a.m., with pieces available for purchase afterward. And, the men’s woodsplitting contest will take place at 4 p.m.
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Crews started working at 9 a.m. Wednesday to remove the wreckage of a FedEx semi hauling two tractor trailers. One lane of Interstate 70 EB was closed with intermittent full lane closures throughout the day.