From art drops to family festivals, Arvada has big plans to mark its 120th year

A worker hangs a banner proclaiming Arvada's 120th anniversary from a lightpost, June 2024.
Courtesy of Visit Arvada
Arvada is celebrating its 120th anniversary this summer with a slate of festive events.

Arvada celebrates its 120th anniversary this summer with a slate of festivities highlighting the Jefferson County city's history and community. 

Once a small town of 500, Arvada is now a city of over 120,000. The Colorado Historical Society recognizes Historic Olde Town Arvada as the location of Colorado's first gold strike.

Long before the town itself was incorporated, a group of prospectors on their way to California found gold in Ralston Creek in 1850 (but apparently not enough to stop them from continuing their trek west.) Hobbyists are still apparently turning up gold in the city’s creeks.

Arvada was also once known as the "celery capital of the world". In the second half of the 19th century, its farmers supplied fresh produce to the growing city of Denver and nearby mining camps.

The historic Olde Town Arvada water tower above the much newer RTD line through the Denver suburb
Courtesy of the City of Arvada
In an example of old-meets-new, the historic Olde Towne Arvada water tower stands over the RTD light rail line through the Jefferson County suburb.

This year’s anniversary celebrations begin on June 22, with a commemoration of the first documented discovery of gold in the Rocky Mountain region, and continue throughout the summer. 

Events include:

Those special events come on top of Arvada’s regular summer activities:

  • This month's First Friday Creative Crawl in Olde Town is June 7, featuring art, live music, and craft beverages. This year the city is adding something new — Art Drop Arvada starts at 6 p.m. each First Friday, with works by various local artists hidden in public locations around Olde Town for people to find.
  • Arvada Farmers Market runs every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Olde Town Square until September 29, offering local produce and goods from artisans.