Parents Dave and Kelli were just trying to take their sons to Lions Park on July 30, but found downtown Golden much busier than they had expected.
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The family followed the crowds into Parfet Park, stumbling onto Buffalo Bill Days 2022.
Golden’s annual summertime festival returned after a two-year absence during the pandemic, although this year’s schedule and layout was a bit different. There was no Wild West Show; the Saturday morning parade had fewer floats than usual; and the layout at Parfet Park was different than usual.
Cody Moreland of longtime vendor Armstrong Concessions explained how his family usually sets up near the train along the Clear Creek Trail. However, this year, Armstrong Concessions had both of its booths in Parfet Park.
Overall, he said, it seemed smaller with “not as much going on” as he looked around Parfet Park on the afternoon of July 30.
Still, Moreland and other longtime attendees said they were thrilled to have the event back in general. Even those who stumbled into the event said it made a good first impression with children’s activities, music, food and vendors.
Buffalo Bill Days, which ran from July 28-31, had a spread of events throughout the week. Thursday saw the annual golf tournament; music, arts, crafts and food were available at Parfet Park throughout the weekend; and Sunday offered the annual community worship service, car show and Muttin' Bustin’.
Tammy and Julian Juarez recalled how their daughter was a baby when the family first started attending Buffalo Bill Days, and now she’s 24.
The two operate the Denver-based Aztec Indian Jewelry, and said they greatly missed running their booth at the event in 2020 and 2021. They love the venue — the music, food, people and Golden itself.
“It’s an awesome little town,” Tammy said. “ … We’re happy to be back (at Buffalo Bill Days).”
Tammy added that she liked how the 90-some vendor and concession booths were arranged this year, saying it seemed to provide “a good flow” to the festival.
As band 20 Hands High played on the Parfet Park stage, 7-year-old Ellsa Pitman was dancing along while mom Ashley watched.
Pitman estimated her family’s been attending Buffalo Bill Days for 30 years, saying they love the parade, music, and beer.
“We’re so happy it came back,” Applewood’s Ashley Pitman said. “We missed it over the last two years.”
Moreland felt similarly, describing how his grandparents used to work concessions during the event’s first few years. Now that he’s taken up the tradition, Moreland said he felt very close to them while following in their footsteps Saturday.
Throughout the weekend, he and his colleagues wanted to “cause a few extra smiles,” adding that if the customers were happy, then they were happy.
Overall, Moreland described, he was excited to be back at Buffalo Bill Days.
“It’s like a big reunion every time,” he said.
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