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Old Sacramento’s Gold Rush Days Panned Because Of Drought

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento city leaders have canceled the annual Gold Rush Days celebration in Old Sacramento because of drought concerns.

In just a month, the streets of Sacramento were supposed to be taken back in time, with shootouts between the bad guys and the sheriff in the 1850s.

But the 200 tons of dirt city leaders dump on the streets for the event ended up burying its fate. That’s because it takes a lot of water to keep the dust down and clean it up afterward—not the best idea during a drought.

“It takes over 100,000 gallons of water to service Gold Rush Days, and we just didn’t feel that would be a responsible use of water,” said Mike Testa with the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau.

As a result, the event that draws 100,000 people to the area for the weekend has been canceled.

But not all business owners, including Ann Khan at Old City Kites, are upset about losing the foot traffic.

“Contrary to popular opinion, retail is, most of us are down or you know, it’s just an average weekend,” she said.

The big weekends, she says mean more people come in to browse rather than buy.

“It’s because the streets are closed, our regular customers don’t show up,” she said. “They stay away because of the event.”

But the owners of American Legacy and Sacramento Sweets company say the weekend’s been strong for them.

City and business leaders promise some activities over Labor Day weekend in place of Gold Rush Days, including a beer crawl, and they’re working on more.

“Hopefully by the end of this week have some great announcements of new things that we’re gonna do that we’ve never done before,” said Chris McSwain with the Old Sacramento Business Association.

While some wonder if the event can still be held without all the dirt in the road, the convention bureau says it would affect a number of the planned activities and take away from the event as a whole.

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