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Downtown Golden was aglow Friday evening. With hundreds of revelers walking shoulder to shoulder up Washington Avenue for the 34th Annual Olde Golden Candlelight Walk, a balmy December evening felt even warmer with the good cheer and merry making.

A collaborative event amongst the Chamber of Commerce, Visit Golden, the Visitor’s Center, the Downtown Development and Authority, and the City, for many attendees the walk was part of their holiday tradition.

Nola Krajewski, Chamber of Commerce executive director, said the evening was “probably one of Golden’s most beloved events.”

Krajewski added that after a virtual version of the walk in 2020 due to the pandemic, “the ability to bring the event back feels really good.”

Snapping a group photo in front of the Table Mountain Inn just before a pair of motorcycle officers escorting Santa officially kicked off the walk, the Bowen and Aron families from Denver expressed delight at being able to more safely gather together for something that was noticeably absent from their celebrations last year.

While the Santa sighting brought squeals of delight from many youngsters, the palpable energy lit a smile on 14 year old Katie Aron’s face.

“Everyone’s happy. It’s a big start to the season,” Aron said. “I love the carols and just being able to spend time together.”

The walk culminated at Parfet Park, where 5-year-old Antonio Ramos helped Santa flip the switch to turn on the holiday lights in the park.

Longtime resident Charles “Chuck” Cortad and his wife Jeanette have participated in the walk since it began in 1987. Chuck’s eyes seemed to sparkle above his mask when asked what made Golden a special place to be during the holidays.  

“Golden is the collaboratory of Colorado. It’s a unique opportunity of what most people look for in community,” he said. “Let’s put it this way, it’s the way it’s meant to be.”