Steampunk inspiration and resources

Gold Rush Days at Old Sacramento

After over a year living in Greece and Bulgaria, the Mister and I decided to take our time getting out to California. We spent some time with family, relaxed and took a looooooong drive from Michigan to the coast. I had been to places like the Black Hills and Yellowstone as a kid, but he had never gotten the chance to see them, so we loaded up our little Chevy and hit the road.

Buffalo in YellowstoneI had forgotten that once you get West of Minnesota, you are already in cowboy country. We at in restaurants decked out in 100% old West gear and kitschy dives dripping with patriotism. We went into a general store and found not only special cowboy boot stockings, but a pink bedazzled horse brush and special coats for goats. We saw Mount Rushmore, learned the history of Wall Drug, got up close and personal with buffalo, braved the sulphur-scented air of geysers and saw the Grand Tetons from horseback.  In short, it was a marvelous time!

I thought I would have overdosed on all that rugged charm, but instead I find myself drawn to learning more about this unique time and place in history. To help myself do just that (as well as pay the bills of course) I got a job as a tour guide at the Sacramento History Museum. I am sure once I am through building my character (I am currently leaning towards professional gambler) and writing my tour I will have tons of great tidbits to share with you all. At the moment I am just itching to frolic in their extensive costume closet!

Over Labor Day weekend I attended Sacramento’s annual ode to the buckeroo way of life, Gold Rush Days. When gold was discovered in the American River in 1848, Sacramento wasn’t even a village, let alone a state capitol. Heck, California was barely even a state! The Sacramento River was a great launching point for people trying to reach the gold fields, and due to some enterprising folk it blossomed into a thriving burgh as a result. So, it isn’t at all surprising that the city makes a big deal over Gold Rush Days.


This weekend-long celebration doesn’t happen every year. In fact, a friendly Sacramento Historical Center volunteer told me that last year they had to take a break because of the drought conditions facing the state. So people were especially excited for this year’s shenanigans. There were tons of people in historical garb, old-timey drinks like sasparilla and birch beer (yum!), train rides, carriage rides and free samples of saltwater taffy. There were several actors participating in living history displays all over “tent city”, just outside the Sacramento History Museum.

Inside there was even more to see! I had a great time chatting with the costumed volunteers in “The Lady’s Parlour” where they had lace-making and weaving demonstrations as well as a diorama competition and old maps of the city.

Intrigued? Never fear! I will have lots of cool information for you soon about the Old West.

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