Gold Rush Days happen in Old Sacramento, on Labour Day weekend. There's street theatre, horses, cowboys, indians, soldiers, gold prospectors, the Pony Express... everything you'd expect in the wild, wild west. Even a brothel. Seriously! The brothel catches fire and the ladies have to be rescued by a team of valiant firemen!
The streets are covered with sand to bring back how it would have been in the days of the gold rush. The hardware store carries the goods you would have needed: enamel pots and pans, rope, knives... the blacksmith is busy on the corner, and there's the Stinking Tent saloon in case you're thirsty.
It had been a while since I'd been to Old Sacramento, with its boardwalks and traditional houses and storefronts. (What is now the first/ground floor was once the upstairs: what is now the basement, once the ground/first floor. Regular flooding from the Sacramento river, and the early settlers built upwards.) More buildings have been restored, and they all look beautiful. Especially the hardware store.
You can forget the freeway almost-overhead (though why the heck did they design I-5 to go straight through the heart of Sacramento?) and take a step back in time. Any day of the year, not just this weekend. It's just a little more real during Gold Rush Days.
And a visit to Old Sac is never complete without a bag full of salt-water taffy to bring home.
Full set of photos here on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alisontoon/sets/72157631375860192/