Sopris Sun

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Letters, 7/18/13

Shedding some light on shade

Dear Editor:

Here I sit on a beautiful morning. My door is open at the Third Street Center and the heat of the day has yet to make an appearance. I have KDNK playing that good ol’ country music and I feel great.

We are two weeks away from my favorite time of year — the Carbondale Mountain Fair. That time of year when so many community members come together to celebrate and help make this magic happen. That’s probably the best part of it. We may have been on different sides of an issue in June but in July we have a good time together. I do believe that that is one of the contributing factors to the health and livability of Carbondale. There are many unsure things in our world, but ‘round here, for almost 42 years, we know that the last full weekend of July belongs to Mountain Fair.

There are some other core values that CCAH works to preserve that keeps the integrity of this fair in tact — no blatant banners or sponsorship. Yes, New Belgium has a presence at Mountain Fair but heck, if there is going to be one company who has a name in there I’m glad it’s one that aligns so closely with our fair values. In fact, they have been close allies on solving the diesel beer truck issue and, while it is not 100 percent solved, we are working together towards a solution. Rest assured, there will NOT be a diesel truck at the park.

Whew, check that problem off, hopefully, for this year. We have also managed to keep this fair free and volunteer run (though if you have a great time and feel like throwing in a dollar or two, we will have places for that as well!)

So, what’s the problem for 2013? Let’s just get this elephant out of the room right now.

Shade tents! Those tricky, oft-times flimsy-made pieces of aluminum and canvas that provide respite from Colorado’s sun and rain.

Mountain Fair only has space for about 20 of those things, which limits the amount of people who find respite. Luckily, folks will kind of share, especially if they aren’t underneath them at the time.

Each year the desire amongst the folks for these limited spaces has grown. CCAH has tried to solve these problems by creating guidelines and strict adherence to a specific time they could be set up. This has not worked. Last year, the desire for these spaces was so high that fists were formed and a few folks, and tents, were broken! Darn, this is not what we want. Besides, over 15,000 people attend Mountain Fair each year and most of them seem to have a fabulous time without a shade tent.

I appreciate the comment of one local who said for us to just do away with shade all together. We’d entertain that idea if everyone else thinks that’s a good idea. It sure would make our life easier, but folks with families and babies and elderly … well it’s a little harder for them to hang out at the fair without shade.

At CCAH we try to respond to the needs of our community in a positive and creative way. We pondered this, talked with others and pondered some more, and came up with a sustainable, attainable solution. A lottery is the only fair way to go for now. The money will go into a fund to build a shade structure that will do away with the 10'x10' tents and provide an open space of shade. CCAH thinks it will take two years to raise enough money.

It’s easy to demand free entertainment and we try to provide it. Three days of free entertainment at Mountain Fair, four free concerts during the summer in Sopris Park, free food and drink at all our openings, free events throughout the year … but the reality is all of these things cost us real dollars.

If you win the lottery, and you’re smart, you get 10 friends, have them pitch in $10 each and you have yourself one of the best seats in the house. Hopefully, kindness and sharing will still prevail. What a great way to help reach a solution.

Sometimes when there is a fair for the people, it is the people who have to come together to help. Thanks for understanding and helping out. In honor of our theme this year, quoting Chief Seattle, “Mankind did not weave the web of life, we are but one thread within it.”

See you at the fair!

Amy Kimberly


Carbondale Mountain Fair