Buffalo Bill
Buffalo Bill heads for the pancake breakfast at the Golden Fire Station.

Golden's Signature Summer Event

It started more than 60 years ago as a ride through town by the Buffalo Bill Saddle Club on their way back from an annual trek to Buffalo Bill's grave on Lookout Mountain above Golden. So the story goes. Over time that ride through town has grown into a parade that takes two hours to pass the reviewing stand on Washington Avenue, and that's just one of the events every year during Buffalo Bill Days in Golden.

The public events kick off on Friday evening in Parfet Park, where a host of vendors offer food, beer and crafts. There will be live music at the bandshell.

Saturday morning starts early with an old fashioned pancake breakfast at the firehouse on Tenth Street. Count on as many pancakes as you can eat, and more politicians than you can greet. Then the action moves up the street to Washington Avenue for the grand parade. You'll see precision horse teams, Buffalo Bill look-alikes, bands, horses, wagons, rescue dogs, old and new firetrucks, and just about every other kind of float and group you can imagine. At the head of the Best of the West Parade will be the same Buffalo Bill Saddle Club that started the whole thing two generations ago.

After the parade, gun fighters, sharp shooters, Native American dancers, and others entertain the after-parade crowd at a Wild West Show at the Lions Park ball fields. Then back to Parfet Park for more live music, kids' entertainment, dancing, food and beer.

Sunday features church services in Parfet Park and Mutton Bustin' for the kids at the Lions Park ball fields. In the afternoon, hundreds of yellow rubber ducks, each bearing hopes of prizes for their sponsors, will race from the Billy Drew Bridge down Clear Creek to the finish line at Vanover Park. Purchase your duck at the booth in Parfet Park.

Elsewhere around town during the weekend, there will be special activities at the Colorado Railroad Museum and the Golden History Museums, auto shows, kiddie rides and more. Along the Clear Creek Trail west of Washington Avenue, expect to see crowds who enjoy the water sports and activities that are standard in Golden on every summer weekend. For the full schedule of Buffalo Bill Days times, events and entertainers, visit the Buffalo Bill Days Web Site.

Parking is likely to be at a premium, expecially if hot weather draws crowds to Clear Creek and its amenities at the same time as Buffalo Bill festivities are in full swing. The Farmers' Market will suspend operations for the weekend, which will free up a few spaces near 10th and Cheyenne, but if you're coming from out of town your best bet will be the City lots and parking garages within a block on either side of Washington Avenue downtown or the snow storage lot on 11th Street (except Saturday when the lot will be in use to stage parade entrants) near the Billy Drew bridge across Clear Creek. There may be a few spaces along 8th Street and on the north side of the Golden Community Center too. Better yet if you're coming from out of town, ride RTD's new W Line from Union Station in Denver to the end of the line in Golden and catch the shuttle bus into town. If you live in Golden, the wisest choice will be to leave your car at home and walk, bicycle or ride the RTD shuttle into town. As always, neighborhoods on the fringes of all the activities in town will appreciate guests who refrain from parking on residential streets.