For the first time in its 92-year history, Littleton's Western Welcome Week Grand Parade has been canceled. The Western Welcome Week board of directors on June 11 announced the painful decision to …
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For the first time in its 92-year history, Littleton's Western Welcome Week Grand Parade has been canceled.
The Western Welcome Week board of directors on June 11 announced the painful decision to cancel the parade, scheduled for Aug. 15, after consultation with the City of Littleton, Tri-County Health Department and South Metro Fire Rescue.
It became clear that it would be difficult to maintain social distancing to keep COVID-19 at bay, said Cindy Hathaway, the longtime director of Littleton's signature summer bash.
“We hate this, but it's the right thing to do,” Hathaway said. “We went over it and over it, but finally the board said, 'We really don't have a decision here. It's obvious what we need to do.'”
Recent modeling from the Colorado School of Public Health suggests Colorado could see another spike of COVID-19 cases in August.
“We can't foresee what things will be like then, but it takes time to plan an event of this size, and we can't wait until we get closer to make the call,” Hathaway said.
Many other Western Welcome Week events are still scheduled to be held, including the craft fair, the pancake breakfast, a concert at Sterne Park, the Elks Lodge pig roast and others.
The rubber duck race may be held virtually, with participants watching online.
The Taste of Western Welcome Week, featuring booths handing out samples from Littleton restaurants, will likely be transformed into a booklet filled with coupons for freebies from local eateries.
The parade's cancellation follows similar announcements about nearly every big summer event in Littleton, including the Block Party, Fire Muster and 4th of July fireworks at Belleview and Cornerstone parks.
Hathaway, who has been involved with Western Welcome Week for nearly 40 years, said the decision was heartbreaking.
“You hear so many stories of people who marched in the parade as a kid, and now their kids march in it,” Hathaway said. “It's such a special tradition.”
The festival still faces a heavy lift in sponsorship and fundraising. Donations were already down as businesses have fallen on hard times following COVID-19 shutdowns, and Hathaway said some sponsors have even asked for refunds after hearing the parade would likely be canceled.
Others, however, have shown steadfast support.
“The love we've received from the community, the city and our sponsors has been fabulous,” Hathaway said.
She said losing the parade is a tough break, but she's confident she and the other organizers will find creative ways to host events.
“We want to show we can still have some fun and celebrate our community,” Hathaway said. “This is a good time to do that.”
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