Littleton’s signature community celebration is back as the 91st Annual Western Welcome Week runs for 10 days from Aug. 9-18. This year’s theme is “The Tradition Continues.” Cindy Hathaway, …
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Littleton’s signature community celebration is back as the 91st Annual Western Welcome Week runs for 10 days from Aug. 9-18.
This year’s theme is “The Tradition Continues.” Cindy Hathaway, executive director of Western Welcome Week, said the theme is fitting because the celebration is a staple of the community. WWW is also such a longstanding tradition that it was registered as a Local Legacies event by Congress.
“The 100-year celebration seems like it will be here tomorrow because time goes by so fast,” Hathaway said in the leadup to this year’s event. “Western Welcome Week continues to be a source of pride for generations here.”
While some traditions have come and gone though the years, Hathaway said it’s the parade that is the event highlight, occurring each year since the first WWW (then called “Homecoming”) was held in 1929 — and this year’s parade is expected to be as big as ever.
Hathaway said the parade’s 2019 grand marshal was selected in keeping with the theme of celebrating tradition — Mickey Kempf, of Bradford Auto Body. Kempf was chosen because of his family’s strong ties to Littleton and a tradition of carrying on the family name and serving the community well. Hathaway said Kempf carries on the commitment to community of his mother and stepfather, Mary and George “Brad” Bradford.
The Bradford family will also be represented in an old tradition being brought back. This year, the duck race will return to the event lineup. Named the Bradford Duck Race, participants will be able to purchase a duck to race in Little’s Creek. The revived duck race in 2019 is presented by the Henry Design Group and sponsored by Meretta Law.
The ducks will be released to race along the creek on Sunday, Aug. 11, at 2 p.m. Hathaway said the duck race has come and gone over the years, with the original races being held back in the 1970s.
Sean Swallow said he’s excited to have the duck race back this year as he recalled enjoying the tradition as a kid in 1979.
“It’s a great part of Western Welcome Week,” he said. “It’s so much fun. I remember as a kid chasing my duck down the river.”
Hathaway said naming the race after Brad and Mary Bradford is fitting because it honors the philanthropy and community fun that the Bradfords enjoyed.
To learn more about purchasing a duck to participate in the race, visit the website at westernwelcomeweek.org. Participants must be present to win.
Don’t forget the food
Hathaway said as with every year, the food is a big part of the event, especially at this year’s 19th Taste of Western Welcome Week.
“We have so much beer, wine and food — this is truly a great event,” Hathaway said. “We highlight local restaurants and breweries, and for the price, you can’t beat this part of the celebration.”
Taste of Western Welcome Week is a fun, adults-only event. Tickets are $25 in advance at the Western Welcome Week office, 5890 S. Bemis Street, and at Lewis & Cluck, 5664 S. Prince St. On the day of the event, ticket prices are $30. Price includes unlimited food and beverage tastes.
Some of this year’s participating breweries include C.B. & Potts Brewery, Chain Reaction Brewing Company, Jackass Hill Brewery and Living Dream. Restaurants serving food this year include C.B. & Potts Restaurant, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Platte River Bar & Grill and Romano’s.
Taste of Western Welcome Week will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 14, starting at 6 p.m. at the Littleton Center, 2255 W. Berry Ave.
Other events offering food and fun during WWW include the 40th Family Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, Aug. 11, the Fifth Parade Day Hot Dog Lunch at the First Presbyterian Church of Littleton on Saturday, Aug. 17, and the 69th Rotary Club of Littleton Community BBQ & Beer Garden on Friday, Aug. 9.
For details and times for each event, visit the website at westernwelcomeweek.org.
In talking about this year’s lineup of activities, entertainment and fun, Hathaway said one of her favorite traditions of WWW is the RiverPointe Swing Dance, which is a 23-year tradition. The dance will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 13, starting at 6 p.m.
“This is one of my favorite events,” Hathaway said. “It’s truly a community celebration because you get all ages and all generations out there having a lot of fun.”
Another decades-long tradition is the annual Family Night event, which includes a concert in the park and fireworks on Friday, Aug. 9, at Sterne Park.
For the kids
As with the past nine decades of WWW, hosting special events geared toward the community’s children remains a tradition.
This year the annual Littleton Elks Fishing Derby is slated for Saturday, Aug. 10, at Geneva Lake. The free event is held for toddlers to age 12 for boys and girls. The lake is stocked in time for the event, and children compete for the biggest catch of the day.
As in past years, Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff will be on hand to provide fishing tips and offer assistance.
Contestants will also receive hot dogs, chips and a drink at the event.
Also on Saturday, Aug. 10, children will be able to head over to Carson Nature Center at South Platte Park to participate in the 24th Gold Planning on the Platte.
On Sunday, Aug. 11, children — from toddlers to 12-year-olds — will saddle up for the annual Stick Horse Stampede at Arapahoe Community College. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the stampede starts at 10 a.m.
On Saturday, Aug. 17, the children’s festivities will be capped off with the 39th South Metro Fire Fighter’s Children’s Parade at Bega Park, starting at 7:45 a.m.
The Grand Parade
Perhaps the highlight of Western Welcome Week each year is the Grand Parade, which makes its way down Littleton Boulevard and then Main Street on the final Saturday. This year, the parade will be 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Aug. 17.
Keep up with all WWW events by visiting the website at westernwelcomeweek.org.
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