Guiding lights in this uncertain holiday season

Column by John Akal
Posted 12/3/20

Now that the Holiday Season is in full swing, I’m sure most people are wondering what’s going to happen with a lot of our traditional activities here in Golden and whether or not they are going …

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Guiding lights in this uncertain holiday season


Now that the Holiday Season is in full swing, I’m sure most people are wondering what’s going to happen with a lot of our traditional activities here in Golden and whether or not they are going to be canceled. Like most things we have experienced during 2020, the answer is not a simple “yes” or “no”. A lot of events we experienced in the past are just not going to happen at all, some of them are going full steam ahead with a different approach and there’s even something new this year.

First of all, you can count on almost any holiday concert involving large groups of people being canceled or going to a Zoom type of format. It’s just impossible for large performing groups to even be in the same room together, let alone find a place where they can host an audience safely. In some cases, the current COVID restrictions limit audiences to groups smaller than the number of people in the actual orchestra or choir. In fact, just assembling the performing group in one room may constitute a violation of these restrictions, so that makes even a virtual performance quite a challenge.

One group that is going to attempt a Zoom concert is the Golden Concert Choir. They have put together a seasonal program that brings them right into your home and also enables them to do a silent auction to raise some funds to keep the organization going. It’s happening on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 4-5 p.m. For more information and to purchase a ticket to enable you to view the concert, go to

One of my favorite Golden traditions has always been the Candlelight Walk and the official lighting of the downtown lights and tree. Of course, having a group of thousands of people, which is what usually shows up for this event, mulling around together is impossible this year but that’s not going to stop us from having our Mayor, Laura Weinberg, from throwing the official switch to light the lights. She’ll just be doing it remotely from home this year. That’s going to happen at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4. After that, or on any night through December and half of January, you and your family can grab a cup of coffee from one of our downtown coffee shops or just bring a thermos of hot chocolate with you and take a stroll along Clear Creek to enjoy the Winter Wonderland Walk that the lights create when reflected from the frozen river and local downtown shop windows along the way. It’s kind of a combination of a new and old Golden tradition that is a great way to entertain your family for an evening.

Another one of our holiday events that is going to be happening, but in an altered state, is Christmas in the History Park. That usually coincides with the night the lights are lit and the Candlelight Walk, but this year it’s happening on the following night, Saturday, Dec. 5. This is when the little village comes to life with the buildings lit up and folks in period costume there to tell the story of how things were in 1800’s Golden. That’s usually a free event, but this year, due to the aforementioned restrictions, they have to do things a little differently. Your going to need to buy tickets in advance and pick a time when you want to go.

They are anticipating that people will be spending about a half hour there and limiting things to 75 people allowed in the park at a time. So, they have tickets available for three time slots, 5-5:30 p.m., 5:30-6 p.m., and 6-6:30 p.m.. It’s sponsored by the Golden History Museum and Park and all money raised goes to supporting that organization. Tickets run $3 for members, $5 for non-members and kids 4 and under are admitted free. The Golden History Park is located at 1020 11th Street and for more information as well as to order tickets, go to and click on “Events.”

Although the Candlelight Walk is cancelled this year, that doesn’t mean that we won’t be lighting things up with candles. Something new this year is Candlelight Nights: Be Merry, Be Bright, Share Your Golden Light. All residents of Golden are invited to participate by placing candles in your windows throughout the holiday season to show some Golden community solidarity. It kind of takes the place of howling at 8 p.m. every night. It’s recommended that you use some of those electric candles so you don’t burn your house down and they even offer a free commemorative one that you can get by calling the Golden Chamber of Commerce at (303) 279-3113 or be stopping by On Tap Credit Union (while supplies last) at 816 Washington Ave. I like this idea. Hopefully it will start a new annual tradition around here.

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at


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