One of the longest-standing celebrations in Colorado's history dates back to the 1800s and continues to take place in the town of Castle Rock, today.

The Western Heritage Welcome is the official kick-off of the Douglas County Fair and Rodeo. For one evening only at the end of every July, locals flock downtown to watch the Old West come alive all over again.

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The annual parade features a variety of lively cowboys and other costumed characters from the Wild West, cracking jokes and whips as they interact with the crowd. Following the parade, the Park County Regulators perform a reenactment from Colorado's cowboy days.

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Kelsey Nistel/TSM
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Another really cool part of the event is when a group of cowhands from Silverado Ranch drive a herd of longhorn cattle right through the heart of downtown Castle Rock. The route starts at Rock Park and continues down along Perry Street, ending right in front of the Castle Rock Police Department. The longhorns are then rounded up and placed in a corral nearby at Festival Park so community members can get a closer look at them.

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Kelsey Nistel/TSM
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The Western Heritage Welcome honors a ritual that has taken place since the 1800s. Back then, large herds of cattle were led on a route through Colorado known as the “Goodnight-Loving Trail.” The trek ran from Texas, through New Mexico, all the way to Colorado. Part of the route passed through Castle Rock, before ending at the stockyards in Denver, which is why the town still holds a celebration to this day.

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Kelsey Nistel/TSM
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This year's parade takes place at 6 p.m. on July 28. Castle Rock's annual Boots and Brews event follows the parade at Festival Park on July 29. Visitors can enjoy live music, dancing, drinks, and more, before soaking up the rest of the festive, western weekend at the rodeo.

The Douglas County Fair and Rodeo, also held in Castle Rock, runs through August 6, 2023, at 500 Fairgrounds Drive.

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