With the whoop of a siren, lollygaggers cleared Main Street, and the Grand Parade of the 91st annual Western Welcome Week began rolling through downtown Littleton on Aug. 17. The theme of this year's …
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With the whoop of a siren, lollygaggers cleared Main Street, and the Grand Parade of the 91st annual Western Welcome Week began rolling through downtown Littleton on Aug. 17.
The theme of this year's event was "The Tradition Continues." Perhaps that sounds a smidge more vague than previous themes, focused on teachers, first responders or veterans.
But as the parade advanced, the beauty of the theme became apparent.
In a world and a state and a city that can often feel increasingly divided, here was the parade you grew up with. The one your grandparents grew up with.
The Westernaires clopped past, the riders straight-backed and grinning. With them were high school bands and color guards. Old tractors and hot rods. The Mountaineers square dancers, do-see-do-ing on a flatbed trailer.
Sure, there were changes. A new sheriff and a new Congressman rolled by. The fire trucks say South Metro on the side now, though the Black Pearl, the mighty ladder truck of Station 12, still led the way.
Yet among the crowd were those who have seen their fair share of Western Welcome Week parades, like Rip Hobson, former chief of Littleton police, who first put on his LPD badge in 1959, and Jose Trujillo, who ran Jose's Restaurant on Main Street for many years.
Members of the next generation began making their own Western Welcome Week memories.
“Everyone was looking at how beautiful my horse was,” said Westernaires rider and high school freshman Avery Buss after the parade, grinning as she talked about her tall, gray horse Sonic. “I felt like a proud mom.”
Yes, Valley Feed is nothing but a memory now. Yes, Littleton is bigger and more crowded, and the traffic's worse. But on a warm August morning on Main Street, as the Western Welcome Week parade went by, the tradition continued.
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