This year will mark the 51st annual Mountain Fair, and along with the perennial activities we know and love, it will include some exciting new activities. This year, the kid-friendly Oasis zone of Mountain Fair will include the Creative Canopy Arts Tent and will offer new bilingual activities.
The team behind all of this programming at the Oasis is largely made up of local educators and volunteers who share in the principle that Mountain Fair is made by the community for the community. Andrea Harris, a local artist and educator who will be a supervisor at the Oasis, believes that bilingual activities will allow Mountain Fair to be even more inclusive for the community.
“It is important to include bilingual programming because everyone from the community should be welcome,” said Harris. “A person cannot feel welcome to something if they cannot access it.”
Harris will also be one of the artists and educators leading activities in the Creative Canopy Tent — a new space within the Oasis where families can go to do different arts and crafts.
The first bilingual events at the Oasis will happen at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Starting with some storytime for children, local educator Alejandro Rico will share songs and a puppet show — all in Spanish.
At the same time, inside the Creative Canopy, Andrea Harris will teach visitors how to make their own celestial headband.
Then, at 11:15 a.m. inside the Creative Canopy, artist Gabriela Mejia will teach visitors to decorate a grass skirt which they can use in a Polynesian dance taking place later that day.
Finally, Aspen Polynesia dancers and drummers will share skills in movement and music in a fun, upbeat performance at 1:00 p.m.
Although the bilingual events at the Oasis only take place on Saturday, there will be bilingual volunteers available to help throughout the weekend. On Friday and Saturday, there will be bilingual students helping at the Creative Canopy, and on Sunday there will be bilingual volunteers helping out as well.
These new bilingual events will make this year’s Mountain Fair more inclusive and meaningful for everyone who attends, as in the past the language barrier could prevent many people from getting the full experience.
“It’s over 10,000 people who attend the fair. We pull from the entire valley, so it’s really not just the Carbondale community, but the entire Roaring Fork valley community,” said Micahel Stout, education director at Carbondale Arts and Oasis coordinator.
This year the coordinators at Mountain Fair are working hard to include all Valley residents because that is what Mountain Fair is all about — celebrating our community. As a largely bilingual community, it is a relief to see initiatives like this at Mountain Fair.
“We are taking time to thoughtfully add as much as we can for now,” said Harris. “And I am hopeful that this will be a start to more bilingual programming in the future. These are baby steps toward a more equitable community.”