It's already Labor Day weekend, and while it's going to be well into the 100's again this weekend, it still feels like summer has come to an end all too fast again. But I just remembered that Labor Day weekend also means some fun happenings in Old Sacramento, our favourite part of the city! We are only a 10 minute walk from the cobbled streets of Old Sac, and we frequently find ourselves walking there in the evening for ice cream by the old railway station, studying the historic buildings and wishing we could buy one. I love capturing the sun setting through Tower Bridge, watching the red sky contrast against the golden metal structure. I also love walking along bumpy the wooden sidewalks, popping in to Evangeline's, and buying salt water taffy at Candy Heaven (they sell a good range of Mexican candy there too). And during Labor Day weekend the streets go back to the days of the Gold Rush, where people dress up and reenact scenes from the 1850's. There is food, music, entertainers, many horse-drawn carriages, the fire department, and the Pony Express, amidst a ton of other things to see, watch, taste and hear.
I often forget that California wasn't part of the US until 1847, and the Gold Rush that took place between 1848 and 1855 brought all types of people to the western state. I find it surprising that all of this happened only 170 odd years ago! That's not really that long ago when you think about it... Two lifetimes, maybe three... Anyway, I have realised that while I studied a lot of US history growing up, I really need to read up on it, as there are many things I do not know about California. Just thinking about all of these celebrations and reenactments raised a ton of questions for me, about laws back then, about the background of the state's progressive leanings, about how those who weren't white were treated... A ton of things I now need to look into and study. I can't really live here and photograph these things without really understanding the background, can I?
In any case, the Gold Rush Days event this weekend is really just a great way to visualize what Sacramento must have looked like back in the day. Last year I thoroughly enjoyed watching the fire department reenactment, and the Pony Express riders galloping through the streets! As well as just watching all of the people in costume walking around, as if they really were in 1850 and not 2017. There is no cover charge, but the later you come the more difficult it is to find parking as the parking lot fills up extra fast and there are no cars allowed on the Old Sac streets during these days. Also! The schedule has been slightly changed due to the heat advisory, so it's best to head in early if you need to park somewhere. I do recommend the light rail though, it really isn't a long walk from the stop on Capitol Mall.
Here is my photo album from last year to give you a taste of what you can expect this year - as well as a few of my favorites below.
As a sidenote, a friend recently evoked the existence of something that I had never heard about before, probably because I have never really visited the southern states in depth: plantations that have been turned into "museums", depicting slavery in a very "light" way. It made me think about how there is often a grey area when it comes to museums and historical reenactments, between being educational and used as a way to whitewash history. Sacramento's Gold Rush Days are in my opinion just a fun way to visualize the history of the area, but it does make me think about how there was no real Native American representation that I saw last year. In any case, this is a topic I need to explore more of, for another post. I really do need to brush up on my US history!