Potato Day, over a century of history and going strong
A crisp chill in the air and threat of rain looming couldn’t deter Carbondale residents from reveling in Saturday Potato Day festivities.
Generation after generation has gathered to celebrate the town’s oldest continuous community event.
“I’ve been coming to potato day since 1955, it has changed a lot,” long-time Carbondale resident John Stickney said.
“I remember when it used to be over where Bridges High School is,” he said of the Third Street location that back in the day was known as Carbondale Union High School.
For the 109th year, Main Street and downtown Carbondale thrived with activity as the pitter-patter of the little feet of the next generation of Carbondale celebrated the history of the small Colorado town with their parents and family.
“Potato Day is a very cultural and historic event, I feel like it brings us closer to what the town originally was and helps us celebrate that,” Carbondale resident Laura Bond said.
With this year’s theme of “Take flight,” a special guest fly-over from the Classic Air Medical helicopter left a lot of wind blown faces, huge smiles and some chasing hats down the street and sidewalks.
One-by-one, entries meandered through town, ranging from Crystal River Elementary School children and staff dressed as super heroes to the Carbondale Historical Society dressed in Steampunk style. Both received cheers of approval from the crowd.
“I just love that it’s Carbondale’s oldest event, it means a lot to me, its an opportunity to be in the parade with my kids,” said Carbondale resident Sarah Murray who has been coming to the event for 20 years.
Once the last float made its way through downtown, the party migrated to Sopris Park for fun, food and family.
With the sound of music filling the park, the community gathered together reminiscing about the years past, catching up with friends and meeting new ones.
“I love the tradition of the lunch and the music,” Murray said.
The traditions abound at the event, including the cowboy coffee served from the jumbo-sized pot and the smell of beef and potatoes emanating from the pit below ground on the south side of the park as volunteers prepare to serve the annual BBQ beef lunch.
“I think its cool, I was just telling my son today about how long it has been going on. It is pretty impressive,” said Carbondale resident Travis Beery, “Trying to think about when all these houses used to be potato fields, it’s cool to reflect back on that.”
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The Forest Service plans to replace the Carbondale Aspen-Sopris ranger district station with a newer, larger facility.