Many Potato Day traditions remain the same
According to an excerpt from the 1998 historical book, “Elk Mountain Odyssey” by Paul Anderson and Ken Johnson,
Potato day was described as:
“At first, the celebration was free and featured roasted meat and cream-style potatoes in the skin, all prepared by area ranchers and farmers.
“Starting Friday night, an oak fire heated a huge barbecue pit. Beef was seasoned with sauce and wrapped in cloth, burlap and poultry wire, and when the heat was just right the meat was dumped into the hot coals. The pit was covered with iron doors and eight inches of soil, so any seeping smoke betrayed a flaw in the air-tight seal needed for a good barbecue. Eighteen hours later, the beef was cooked to delectable tenderness and ready for the celebration supper.”
Many of those same traditions continue today, right down to the barbecue methods. Local farming and ranching families kept the festival’s traditions alive through the years, even as the potato industry ceased.
Carbondale native Wally DeBeque, former owner of the Dinkel Building on Main Street and grandson of Carbondale founder William Dinkel, recalled that when he was young, Potato Day took place in several locations, beginning at a vacant lot on Second Street. In other years, he said, it took place at a park on the north side of Main Street, and in a large open area where Carbondale Middle School now stands. In those days, a rodeo was held on site.
There were also dances held in various locations, including the Odd Fellows Hall, the old Co-op Potato Barn that used to stand near the railroad tracks, and an abandoned mercantile space in the Dinkel Building.
In 1994, the local Zeta Epsilon and Xi Gamma Tau sororities took over organization of the event. And for many years now the festival has coincided with Roaring Fork High School’s homecoming weekend activities.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Roaring Fork School District embraces USDA’s decision to continue reimbursing student meals until June 2022
Thanks to the USDA’s decision to extend the waiver program, schools across the country will be able to provide free meals to their students through June 2022. The extension was discussed at the previous Roaring…