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Events / Family Travel / Humor

Don’t (Cake)Walk This Way: The Sordid Details of Golden’s New First Friday

I had a complicated relationship with cakewalks as a kid.

Meaning: I always wanted to win and yet never did.

My family had a glorious staycation in Golden, Colorado last weekend. My trip report and oodles of great giveaways are forthcoming but what cannot wait is my daughter Hurricane Hadley’s introduction to The (Cake)Walk of Doom.

Which is only moderately less death-defying than walking the plank.

I have spent a lot of time in this idyllic town that is nestled between two volcanic mesas and against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. We stayed at the Golden Hotel overlooking the main drag and gurgling Clear Creek.

On Friday night, we attended the city’s “First Friday,” a newly-minted street fair that occurs on the first Friday of each month. We dined on delicious buffalo burgers from a vendor, watched a magic show, danced in the streets to a live band, indulged in Golden Sweets Ice Cream & Chocolate, rode in a free horse-drawn carriage and topped off our evening at Windy Saddle Cafe where they held a Cupcake Walk for the children.

Twenty-six kids crammed into a circle and each child was given a number to tape to the ground. Like most cakewalks, when the music stops and your number is called out, you’re a winner. But unlike most cakewalks, they had enough cupcakes for everyone; the child just needed to be patient enough to stick around to the end.

Hurricane Hadley lacks patience.

And yes, she gets it from me.

Trying to get a group of small children to walk around in a circle is like trying to herd a gaggle of geese. Though they were uncooperative at best, one by one they dropped off as their numbers were called. Halfway through, a vacant number next to Bode was announced. I swiftly plopped him on it and he jubilantly went to claim his reward.

All that remained was Hadley…and about 15 other kids. With each number, her frustration grew. She tried many different methods.

1) The Only Moving When You Were Assured a Number to Step On Method

2) The Take The Number With You Method, which is most effective by subtly dragging it with your foot.

3) The Screaming “GO!” Method

4) And finally, The Dejected “I’m Never Going to Win” Method.

It came down to the very end. There was one number left and she was up against just one boy who was half her size.

“She’s gonna take your son down,” I warned his parents.

I was only halfway joking.

The previous rounds were out of her control but a race to the finish? The Hurricane did not disappoint. When that number was called, come hell or highwater chocolate cupcake with swirly frosting, she was not going to lose this competition. She jubilantly plopped down on that number, did an I am the Champion-esque dance and went to claim her chocolate prize.

All was right in the world until she learned that the little boy who came in very last got to do a special dance and then get his cupcake.

Chocolate and performing in front of adoring throngs of people?

Taking second-to-last place is the new Biggest Loser.

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.


  1. Sounds like a fabulous weekend in Golden but the icing on the cake? That Hurricane of yours. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

  2. The nerve of that kid. How dare he do a dance and still get a cupcake. I’m outraged.

    Hadley seriously makes me belly laugh…and I belly laughed when I read your comparison to a cake walk being as death-defying as walking the plank. Kind of funny that the term, “cake walk” means something is easy. Life, and the english language vernacular, is rich with irony.

  3. At first, I was so stressed out to see her so frustrated. And then I thought “blog fodder” and the world was right again. Because Hadley is always good for a belly laugh or two!

  4. I’m impressed that she stuck it out that long… 25 songs is a LONG time to wait for chocolate. Especially a chocolate cupcake.

  5. It did take a lot of patience. Of course, there were almost a few casualties along the way. 🙂

  6. the only cakewalk I ever did I thought was really boring and I didn’t get the point.

  7. It was a girl guide cakewalk. I won the best cake there!! My mom made me give it to my sister for her birthday party….. I am still mad.

  8. James–you must not have a competitive drive!

    Suzy–I’d still be bitter, too. 🙂

  9. Winning the cake my Mum made…

  10. Haha – you passed on the unlucky at cake walks gene. 😉 Hadley showed some amazing ingenuity in her attempts to win a cupcake!

  11. Oh My Lanta – that is priceless. Your photos are a hoot! My fave? The screaming “go” method….. fantastic. 🙂
    I never won cakewalks either. NEVER. Blasted things.
    And back in the day ~ they didn’t give anything to the losers. Just a ‘better luck next time’ shrug. Harsh.


  12. EXACTLY. They had nothin’ for the losers back in our day. Maybe that’s why we’re all so damaged? 😉

  13. Ooh, I think this is going to be our new first Friday thing to do.

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