Drought Conditions Shutter Gold Rush Days Acitivites

OLD SACRAMENTO, Calif. (July 28, 2014) – Due to California’s drought conditions and the enormous amounts of water needed to put on the annual heritage event, the traditional Gold Rush Days activities in Old Sacramento have been cancelled for 2014.  The decision was made by Steve Hammond, President & CEO of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, along with the City of Sacramento and other stakeholders of the event.

Each year, nearly 200 tons of dirt (or decomposed granite) is used to help transform Old Sacramento into a scene out of the 1850s.  In addition to the visual transformation, the dirt also allows for a safe foundation for the horses, wagons and for various skits and performances to take place in the streets. However, it takes up to 3,000 gallons of water per day to keep the dirt dampened and dust down during the event – plus up to 100,000 gallons of water to clean up the dirt at the conclusion of the event.  

“The volume of water necessary to return Old Sacramento to its pre-event condition is beyond significant,” said Hammond.  “Dirt-covered streets is clearly not an option during the continuing drought which impacts the event on multiple levels including the safety and well-being of the horses, riders and performers.  In addition, the dry conditions pose a heightened potential fire danger during Gold Rush era cannon and weaponry demonstrations.  After exploring and exhausting a variety of alternatives, the decision was made to cancel the traditional Gold Rush Days activities for this year.”  

Even without the traditional Gold Rush Days activities, guests are encouraged to visit Old Sacramento over Labor Day weekend.  “With four museums and more than 100 shops, eateries and entertainment venues, there’s always something happening in Old Sacramento,” said Chris McSwain, Executive Director of the Old Sacramento Business Association.   “We invite guests from near and far to visit Old Sacramento over Labor Day Weekend and stay tuned for some fun surprises that will be announced at a later date.”  For continually updated information about events and activities happening in Old Sacramento, visit www.oldsacramento.com.

“It is our sincere hope that drought conditions will ease so we can resume this signature heritage celebration next year and make it bigger and better than ever,” added Hammond.