The wildly wonderful and whimsical Amy Kimberly, along with stellar superstar Mark Taylor, prepare to pass along the marvelous responsibility of managing Carbondale’s Mountain Fair — to a squad of apprentices who likewise shimmer with magical mountain fairy dust.
Kimberly has been director of the fair for nearly two decades — 19 years, according to Aly Sanguily, who is stepping in as the fair’s entertainment director. Meanwhile, Taylor has had his hand in the mix for a quarter of a century, bringing Mountain Fair tidings to locals and visitors alike every closing weekend of July.
In addition to Sanguily, Deb Colley joins the team as operations director, James Gorman as production director (filling Taylor’s shoes) and Alta Otto as the fair’s vendor director.
Putting on such an event takes a lot of work. Once Mountain Fair ends, planning for the next one begins almost immediately. “It’s year-round,” Sanguily said. “The four of us are essentially trying to create one Amy,” she laughed.
All jokes aside, the incoming directors are by no means new to the fair. Otto, for example, grew up in Carbondale and has long considered it a pinnacle point to a fun summer.
“We respect the spirit of the fair and the people who started, built and kept it growing,” said Sanguily. “It’s still going to be the same fair you know and love.”
In conversation, each of the new directors referred back to the invaluable mentorship Kimberly and Taylor have provided over the years. They were not selected solely based on their resumes, but for the work they’ve done alongside their predecessors.
They’ve been through ups and downs, rising to the occasion when the going got tough. In fact, Colley considered her “golden moment” — a theme introduced during last year’s 50th anniversary fair — to have occurred in 2020 “when we reworked the fair so that it could still function during the pandemic,” she began.
“When we rolled the band wagon around Carbondale neighborhoods — and people came out of their homes to dance, listen and even hop on their bikes to follow along — my relationship to the purpose and vision of the fair really became a little more clear. It’s our beautiful and joyful duty to provide an inclusive and accessible space for our community to celebrate, express themselves and connect. That’s pure happiness,” Colley stated.
“We do it for love,” added Sanguily. “Whatever stance we might take on what’s going on in the world, we can all come together at the fair and be one big, messy, happy family.”
As for Sanguily’s golden moment? “When the last band is on … looking out into the crowd on Sunday night,” she shared, remembering ear-to-ear grins across every face in the crowd. Besides, “We’re here to create smiles,’” she recited, a frequent teaching of Taylor’s.
Fittingly, Gorman, who braces to take over for Taylor, shared the same sentiment. “Every year, there is a moment at the fair when I am on the dance floor in front of the main stage and I look around to see nothing but smiling, blissful faces … I live for moments like this.”
Check out the 51st Mountain Fair guide, produced in collaboration between Carbondale Arts and The Sopris Sun, included in this week’s paper.