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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Don't Miss Gold Rush Days in Sacramento

Although I am usually a curmudgeon about festivals and other phony events, I recommend Gold Rush Days to anyone near Sacramento. Tomorrow is the last day, so get going!

Free admission and the environs of Old Sacramento, along with hundreds of historical recreationist types makes this festival unique. You are likely to meet early Mormon settlers (portrayed by contemporary Mormons), saloon girls (nowhere near the Mormans), cattle drivers, gold miners, Chinese herbalists, a Wells Fargo assayer's office, and everything you'd imagine from the early 1850s. All this with the backdrop of Old Sacramento's original architecture, John Sutter's militia and the U.S. Cavalry.


The dramatic presentations are one of my favorite features. Performed outdoors with real firearms (blanks, of course, but still a little risky), the story lines tend more toward history than Western Romance. The squatters' riot ended with the sherrif's posse shooting the squatters, pretty much as it happened. The saloon fight and shootout offered an extreme lack of romantic revisionism, with a Saloon Girl complaining; "I spent all night on my back and they didn't pay me", and the barkeep shooting an injured cowpoke in the back. Some of the parents standing near us did not appreciate this level of realism, and I expect letters to the events sponsor and the Sacramento Bee to be forthcoming. To be fair to world's fuddyduddies and scolds, I certainly wouldn't want a five-year-old asking me what that "on my back" business was about. A little more subtlety might have been OK.

A woman I know from juggling posted a bunch of pictures that will give you a good feel for the event. Kim manages to be found wherever the fun is happening. If these photos don't make you want to go, you need an emergency course of Gunsmoke therapy.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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