COVID-19 has put the kibosh on one of Golden's most iconic summertime events for 2020. Buffalo Bill Days, the annual summer celebration that brings thousands to Golden, will not be held later this …
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For the first time since anyone on the event board can remember since it began, there will be no Buffalo Bill Days in Golden this year.
On May 4, the board that organizes the festival did what many in the community expected they would eventually have to do by officially voting to cancel the event.
“We just couldn’t figure out how we were going to social distance people,” said Joy Bauman, the president of Buffalo Bill Days Inc. “Buffalo Bill Days is quite the opposite of social distancing.”
The voters’ decision was unanimous.
“I think we just expected that’s the way it would have to be,” said Bauman. “Taking into account everything that is going on we didn’t think anybody would let us hold an event with 40,000 people at it.”
Bauman said she had never heard anyone mention the event being canceled at any other time in its history, at least since the Golden Chamber of Commerce appointed a board to run the event in 1988.
Bauman said the board fully expects the event to resume next year.
Lance Michels, who portrays Buffalo Bill at the event, said he was unsurprised by the news of the event’s cancellation, which he said is “for the better until all of this runs its course.”
“It is unfortunate that this festival and others all over the world are not happening this year,” he said. “But I am sure if Bill Cody were alive today, he would be at the forefront of making sure people were safe and giving his time and money to help the less fortunate get through this pandemic.”
The cancellation of the iconic is the latest sign that this will be an anything but normal summer in Golden.
Deputy Golden City Manager Carly Lorentz said most of the events scheduled to held in the city have been canceled and now people are starting to think about July events as well. Already a casualty is the city’s annual Fourth of July celebration after the Golden Lions Club decided to cancel the festival portion of the celebration they are responsible for putting on. The city then followed suit by canceling the fireworks portion of the celebration.
“We don’t expect the state and county to allow events where thousands of people can gather anytime soon.” Lorentz said.
The city is also looking into plans for its annual Movies & Music in the Park events.“We are really trying to look at other plans for that event that will allow people to be together in spirit, if not physically,” she said.
However, the city has not yet made any definite plans for that event.
Another event that has been impacted by COVID-19 is MOPAR. Although no announcement has been made about the actual block party, the Dodge Mile High National Hot Rod Association Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison is being postponed from the weekend of July 17-19. A new date has not been selected.
Golden Community and Economic Development Director Steve Glueck said it is difficult to determine what kind of economic impact they will have on the city.
On the one hand, city surveys indicate Golden visitors are attracted to coming to the events. But on the other, Glueck said businesses usually do not report seeing an increase in sales related to major events. As a result, Glueck said the city will be paying close attention to the impact.
“What will be very interesting this summer is if we go much of the summer without events then will that have a negative economic impact on the community?” Glueck said. “But while they may or may not have much positive economic impact on the day of an event they are part of our visitation attraction to the metro area and their could likely be an impact from this that we will have to think about as we market the city this summer.”
But regardless of the wider economic impact, the cancellations will surely be disappointing for many Golden residents — even if they make sense from a safety perspective.
“It’s terribly sad,” said Bauman. “It’s going to be a long, boring summer in Golden.”
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