Comic by Brian Colley

A new year in Carbondale means a fresh take on the many of the signature events that are closely tied with the town’s identity. On Dec. 6, 2022, the Special Events Task Force (SETF) met to review the calendar and talk about changes. The SETF was established in 2013 to resolve scheduling conflicts and open a line of communication between event organizers and neighbors to town event sites.

In all, the 2023 calendar features 97 event days on town-owned properties. “We’re not lacking on the vibrancy side,” remarked Eric Brendlinger, director of the parks and rec department.

Among many familiar happenings, two pickleball tournaments are on the schedule. “Demand will be shocking,” organizer Trevor Cannon told the SETF, with upwards of 350 participants anticipated. Another new addition is the Nuche Powwow which will commemorate Indigenous People’s Day on Oct. 9. Recommendations by the SETF are set to be approved by the Board of Town Trustees at their first meeting of the year on Jan. 10.

Other topics of discussion included a rate hike for renting the town-owned stage, which requires town staff  to set up and take down. Events with more than 500 participants will trigger new security requirements like an emergency operation plan and contracted guards. The Chamber of Commerce is in dialogue with Main Street businesses to explore the establishment of an “entertainment district” allowing for common consumption downtown during First Friday festivities. And, finally, measures are being considered to improve the Wild West Rodeo parking situation, such as a shuttle service.

Niki Delson, representing the Age-Friendly Community Initiative, disseminated a hand-out requesting event organizers to provide information about accessibility in their promotional materials. Specifying, for example, the availability of lighting for evening events, sign language interpretation, terrain descriptions, advice for sensory-challenged folks, handicapped bathrooms and large-print brochures.

“Even sharing information about a lack of accommodations can earn public respect,” states the document, “because it indicates that the planners thought about the challenges of inclusive participation.”

Here is the list of 2023 events on town-owned property* 

*details are subject to change

First Friday Family Skate Night – Jan. 6 – Fourth Street Plaza

First Friday “Love is a movement” – Feb. 3 – Downtown

Puzzle and Pie Night – Feb. 26 – Rec Center

First Friday Creative District Focus – March 3 – Downtown

Green is the New Black – March 9-11 – Rec Center

First Friday Healing Hoof It / Animal Parade – April 7 – Downtown

“Where My Peeps At?” Scavenger Hunt – April 8 – Rec Center

5Point Film Festival – April 19-24 – Rec Center and Sopris Park

Rotary Club Fireball Drop – May 5 – Sopris Park

First Friday Family Block Party – May 5 – Downtown

Dandelion Day – May 13 – Sopris Park

Bonedale Bike Week – May 15-21 – Various locations

Art Walk – June 1 – Town Hall

Wild West Rodeo – Thursdays, June 1-Aug. 17 – Gus Darien Rodeo

First Friday Art Around Town – June 2 – Downtown

Wilderness Workshop Community Party – June 2 – Sopris Park

Farmers’ Market – Wednesdays, June 7-Sept. 21 – Fourth Street

Tri for the Sun – June 10 – Pool

Gymkhana – June 10, July 15, Aug. 12, Sept. 17, Oct. 8 – Gus Darien Rodeo

Mexican Rodeo – June 11, July 16, Aug. 20, Sept. 24 – Gus Darien Rodeo

Summer Concert Series – June 11, July 9, Aug. 13, Sept. 10 – Sopris Park

Pickleball Tournament – June 16-18 – Courts

Festival Las Americas – June 24 – Sopris Park

Independence Parade and Pool Party – July 4 – Downtown and pool

First Friday Community Celebration – July 7 – Downtown

Mt. Sopris Music Fest – July 7 – Fourth Street Plaza

Mountain Fair – July 28-30 – Sopris Park and Main Street

First Friday Car Show – Aug. 4 – Downtown

Our Town One Table – Aug. 20 – Fourth Street

Cowboy Up – Aug. 25 – Fourth Street Plaza

First Friday – Sept. 1 – Downtown

Pickleball Tournament – Sept. 8-10 – Courts

Ranch Roping – Sept. 8-10 – Gus Darien Rodeo

Settings fundraiser – Sept. 16 – Carbondale Clay Center

First Friday – Oct. 6 – Downtown

Potato Day Barn Dance – Oct. 6 – Rec Center 

Potato Day – Oct. 7 – Sopris Park

Nuche Powwow – Oct. 9 – Sopris Park

Farm Fest – Oct. 13-15 – Fourth Street Plaza

First Friday Día de los Muertos – Nov. 3 – Downtown

Turkey Trot – Nov. 23 – Rio Grande Trail

First Friday Light Up Carbondale – Dec. 1 – Downtown

Jingle Bell Run – Dec. 17 – Independence Run & Hike

Community calendar event submissions are always welcome to