Gold Rush Days Festival Canceled Due to Drought

Sacramento's annual Gold Rush Days festival, which usually takes place over Labor Day Weekend, has been canceled, according to local NBC News affiliate KCRA. The event is Old Sacramento's most popular event, and typically draws over 100,000 visitors. 

It usually takes 100,000 gallons of water, KCRA reports, to clean the streets after the event has taken place. Additionally, 3,000 gallons of water are required to be used every day to keep the nearly 200 tons of dirt employed during the event under control, according to local Fox News affiliate in Sacramento Fox 40.

The decision to cancel this year's event was made by Steven Hammond, President & CEO of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, along with the City of Sacramento and other stakeholders of the event, according to the event's website.

"It's just too much water to service an event [and] to move forward in good conscience," said Mike Testa of the Sacramento Convention and Visitor's Bureau to local Fox affiliate Fox 40. Testa cited "the visual of 100,000 gallons of water" which would be used to clean up after the event, as a potential problem.

While the bureau sought alternatives to using dirt, it was decided that the visual and experience would not be quite the same without it, which drove their choice to cancel forward. "It would be different; a different experience," said Ann Tatum, who would have been one of the 1850's carriage drivers during the festival. 

The originally-contracted bands and live music performances will reportedly still take place as planned over Labor Day Weekend. The city is reportedly scrambling to come up with fun events and activities, including promotional events to make up for the lost business and to bring in crowds.   

A statement from Hammond on the Gold Rush Days website elicits optimism for next year's event: "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."

Photo: Hector Amezcua/AP


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