Well, what can we say? 2020 will surely be a year no Golden resident who lived through it will soon forget — no matter how much we might want to. So, before we (finally) say good riddance, lets take one last look back at the events that defined one of the most wild, and difficult, years in our fair city’s recent history (we promise there is even some good stuff).
Now hand over a party horn and bring on 2021, a year which we hope will be memorable for some altogether different — and more positive — reasons. Because if there is one thing 2020 has taken from us, it’s our hope for better times ahead.
Fairgrounds saved from budget-cut closure
When Jeffco county manager Don Davis announced on Jan. 21 that the county was considering closing the county fairgrounds in Golden as a result of budget cuts, the outcry from kids and parents who have been involved in activities at the fairgrounds was swift. However, that community got some good news on Feb. 25 when the commissioners reached an agreement to direct county staff to pursue options for the fairgrounds that would preserve the space for agricultural and equine activities for kids while eliminating buildings and costs that do not directly support that purpose.
Jeffco sees first case of COVID-19
It was impossible to know just how much COVID-19 would come to define Golden’s year on March 10, when county health officials announced that a man in his 50s had become the first in the county to test positive for the virus. Since then, Jeffco has seen over 27,000 more cases of the virus (as of Dec. 18), including more than 1,000 people with Golden addresses. Nearly 600 people have died from the virus in Jeffco.
When a statewide stay-at-home order was implemented in March, Golden restaurants and families alike were hit particularly hard. So, several Golden community organizations banded together to launch BGoldN, a unique charitable enterprise that sought to pay restaurants to prepare meals that would be distributed to residents in need during the pandemic.
Pandemic leads to big changes at School of Mines
The week of March 9 was one of the strangest in School of Mines history. On Tuesday, students were in classes as normal. But by Friday, all classes had been moved online for the remainder of the semester and students who live on campus were told they had to leave. Classes resumed in the summer and fall with a multitude of COVID-19 precautions in place before moving online once again following Thanksgiving because of an increase in cases around Jeffco. The current plan for is for Mines to resume in-person classes when students return for the spring semester in January.
Golden marches for black lives
A protest that had galvanized people across the nation reached Golden on June 7 when hundreds of residents descended on downtown Golden for a March for Black Lives, organized by Golden United. The event included an eight minute and 40 second moment of silence in Parfet Park that was meant to symbolize the amount of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck.
Avenue Gifts closes
Downtown Golden lost once of its mainstays in August when Avenue Gifts became the latest casualty of the COVID-19. Owner Donna Owen said the reduction of tourism and other challenges made it the right time to retire. The closure marked the end of Owen’s long retail career in Golden, which began when she started working for the Foss family in 1959.
Coors announces major plant upgrades
One year after Molson Coors said it would make significant investments in its Golden operations in the wake of its decision to move its corporate headquarters from Denver to Chicago, Coors made good on its promise by announcing “hundreds of millions” in upgrades to its Golden plant. The project will replace the brewery’s fermenting, aging, filtration and government cellars, which date back to the 1950s. Work is a already underway and expected to be completed in 2024.
A different kind of holiday season
A year that was defined as much by what didn’t happen (even Buffalo Bill Days was canceled for the first time in its history) ended with one of the most unusual holiday seasons in its history. Mainstays like the Candlelight Walk and Olde Golden Christmas Parades were canceled but residents still rallied to support causes, which collected hundreds of toys for Golden kids.