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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Clown at Western Welcome Week circus, August 1999
Weston Welcome Week circus, August 1999 Photo: Kelli Narde

Western Welcome Week (Littleton)

For 71 years, Littleton has been the home of Western Welcome Week to celebrate community spirit, heritage, and unity. During this 10-day event, nearly every citizen is involved in some way with the festivities: serving pancakes, marching in the parade, volunteering at concession stands, cruising the craft booths, or just lying on the grass, enjoying a beautiful evening of symphonic music and fireworks under the stars.

Littleton begins with Richard Sullivan Little, an engineer, who came to this area south of Denver to lay out a system of ditches to carry water to farms and businesses. He loved the area and moved his family to the area. In 1872, the Littles subdivided their property into a village. In 1890, the 245 residents voted to incorporate the town of Littleton.

In those days, agriculture was the staple industry, and Western Welcome Week celebrates the community's roots as a farm community during the 19th century. After World War II, new industries, including electronics, pneumatics, and aerospace moved to the area. Yet, Littleton has honored its legacy by listing its old fashion American Main Street with the National Register of Historic Places. The community maintains a family environment by providing four times as many parks as the national average, bike paths, and a botanical garden. Western week celebrates the community spirit with events.

The publisher of the local newspaper had created the community celebration in 1929 for the entire family. Its original purpose was to celebrate the 100th birthday of Littleton's founder, Richard Little, and hold a "Homecoming" for anyone who had lived in or visited Littleton. Among the festivities was a parade in which anyone who decorated a car or truck could participate. In 1962, the celebration was renamed Western Welcome, and activities expanded to eight days, with picnics, open-air concerts, a circus, pancake breakfasts, a golf tournament, a walk/race, an old timers luncheon, horse shows, a barn dance, and many other activities. The week culminates on Saturday with a grand parade and craft fair on Main Street. Welcome Week is a community effort, run by 1,200 volunteers.

The festival has a secondary goal of helping its non-profit organizations raise funds through event sponsorships and vending opportunities. Western Welcome Week is a precious legacy that each generation in Littleton shares with each other-parents bring their children, who grow up and bring their children with their grandparents.

Documentation for this project includes a seven- page report, brochure and program books, 23 photos, promotional material, an oral history cassette, two video cassettes of festival highlights, and local newspapers with festival coverage.

Originally submitted by: Thomas G. Tancredo, Representative (6th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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