With the city’s annual mac and cheese festival again a no-go this year, Aspen High School saw it as an opportunity that could boost its homecoming festivities.
“It was a staple in Aspen and it wasn’t happening this year, so we said, ‘Why not?’’’ AHS assistant athletic director Amanda Trendell said. “Kind of bring back something that the town loved, but also include our athletes in it.”
This week’s homecoming festivities reach their peak on Wednesday with the annual bonfire. This year, however, it will include the addition of AHS’s own version of the mac and cheese festival as well as a powderpuff football game at Wagner Park.
The original mac and cheese festival was started in 2011 and ran through 2017 but the city decided to take a short hiatus to rethink the event, only to have it fall off the wayside again in 2019. AHS will somewhat bring it back to life Wednesday, where $5 gets you in the door to sample various dishes from local restaurants. It’s a fundraiser for the AHS girls lacrosse team, coached by Trendell, and the AHS spirit team.
“We are trying to make the bonfire more intimate and something people actually look forward to,” Trendell said. “Last year there wasn’t the attendance we had hoped for, so we are bringing in two new events on each end of the bonfire so the community really comes together.”
The bonfire and mac and cheese festival both start at 6 p.m. in the walking mall across from Paradise Bakery in downtown Aspen. The powderpuff football game, which will feature the AHS junior girls against the senior girls, will start at 4:45 p.m. at Wagner Park.
The week concludes with the annual AHS homecoming football game at 7 p.m. Friday, where the Skiers will face off against Grand Valley in their final non-league game. AHS volleyball also plays at home on Saturday.
“The whole point of homecoming is to be excited about the place you are from. Where I grew up, homecoming was a big weekend,” said Trendell, who is a New York native. “People came back for the football game. There were alumni events. Hopefully we can get to that point. But I think a good starting point is putting some events in town around the bonfire to stir up some excitement about the football game and all the athletes at AHS.”