By Mekialaya White

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Birthdays are always something to get excited about, especially when you’re turning the big 5-0. That’s why the city of Lakewood is having an all-out celebration; it’s hitting the half century mark.

(credit: CBS)

This year’s party will feature a bit of Lakewood’s robust history. The city became incorporated in 1969, initially named “Jefferson City,” apropos, as it’s located in Jefferson County. However, residents voted to change it because they thought it might get confused with existing communities.

And the idea to form the city actually all started in a basement over ping pong.

“There was a moment 50 years ago when Mayor (Jim) Richey, who was not mayor at the time, but leading the effort for incorporation, was in his basement playing ping pong with a buddy. They cleared out the table and drew the boundaries for the city of Lakewood,” explained Community Event Coordinator Rebecca Gushen.

Gushen says the city has been celebrating all year, in fact. Friday’s Party on the Plaza is simply a culmination of that.

“We’re celebrating it the best way we know how. We’re bringing in elements of both birthday party and 1969 all to celebrate. We will have a live band performing top hits from the year. We will have cake right after the birthday ceremony,” added Gushen.

The free celebration begins at 4 p.m. on the plaza and continues until 8.

For more on the event, visit

Mekialaya White