For the first time in its history, Cider Days, Lakewood's signature event, won't take place this fall. City officials blamed issues pertaining to COVID-19 for the event's cancellation including the …
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For the first time in its history, Cider Days, Lakewood's signature event, won't take place this fall.
City officials blamed issues pertaining to COVID-19 for the event's cancellation including the unknown of what future public gathering limitations will look like. Cider Days, an annual weekend long event that celebrates the history of Lakewood at Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, hosted over 145,000 people last year according to Amber Wesner, public engagement and operations manager for the city's community resources department.
“We waited as long as possible (to cancel Cider Days), because it is one of our most popular events — if not the most popular,” said Wesner.
Lakewood starts planning the event, which was scheduled to take place in October, months ahead in order to book vendors and secure supplies. As of June 17, outdoor events like Cider Days are limited to 175 or less people in Colorado. But the uncertainty of what impact COVID-19 will have in the fall was enough for the city to cancel the event.
Wesner said the city also decided to cancel the event for the health and safety of residents and city staff. Additionally, the city relies on volunteers to help orchestrate Cider Days, many of whom are older and more at risk to the virus.
“This event has been going on for 45 years and never been canceled. We know it will be difficult for both (city staff) and our residents and visitors to not have the opportunity to celebrate Lakewood together this year,” Wesner added.
Cider Days celebrates Lakewood's agricultural history and includes live performances, children activities, hard cider tasting, a beer garden, a tractor pull and historical demonstrations from residents like Larraine Givens who has participated in the event the past six years.
Givens is a member of the Colorado Carvers Club, a group of woodcarvers that was organized in 1973.
During Cider Days, she can be found at the Calving Barn at Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park carving items like spoons or animals. She said she will miss seeing the enthusiasm residents display during her woodcarving demonstrations at Cider Days.
“(Woodcarving) just fits in there as some of the older, almost lost art these days. (Cider Days has) always been a fun event to do,” said Givens. “There's always just lots of energy going on around there.”
Lakewood is planning to bring back Cider Days in October of 2021, Wesner said.
“We’re upset to have to cancel these events this year because our residents enjoy these opportunities to celebrate and spend time together as a community. Cider Days is our oldest event, which makes it even more valued by our community,” said Lakewood Community Resources Director Kit Newland. “But planning for an event of this size has to be well underway by May, and we have been unable to do that. We still have too many unanswered questions about whether we could feasibly host the event in October.”
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