Gold Rush Days return to Old Sacramento, with some new partners on board

The Gold Rush Days event rides back into town this weekend and it’s bringing some new partners with it.

The homage to the Old West of the 1850s, which runs Friday through Labor Day, is expected to attract up to 100,000 people to Old Sacramento with kids’ activities, live music, and plenty of food and libations throughout the historic district. It will also serve up a few new offerings.

First up is M7 Con, a popular Western convention and film festival. Similar to Comic Con but for Western aficionados, Old Sacramento M7 Con & Old West Film Festival will feature Western actors, Old West historians, and related panels and film screenings Friday through Sunday, Sept. 1-3.

Founded in 2012 as a fan gathering for Emmy-winning “The Magnificent Seven” television series, the film convention has since expanded to celebrate movies featuring that show’s cast and other Western productions, said Jenny Moore, M7 Con’s President.

“M7 Con has always been held in Los Angeles so we’re very excited to bring it to Sacramento for the first time this year and thrilled to partner with Old Sacramento’s Gold Rush Days,” said Moore.

This weekend’s M7 Con offerings include a free, under-the-stars screening of 1963’s “McLintock!,” starring John Wayne, and a (sold-out) premiere of the new film “21 Outs,” featuring Dale Midkiff.

M7 Con will also host panels on Sacramento history, riverboat tours, and an artisan marketplace where the public can peruse jewelry, clothing and other Western gear, said Moore.

Also making its Gold Rush Days debut this year is a Saturday Night Street Party & Country Dance – complete with live music by country headliner Buck Ford – that includes free line-dancing lessons and demonstrations.

Adult beverages will be available at a popular pub-crawl and also at the Gold Rush Beer Garden, located on L Street (between L Street and Firehouse Alley), said Camille Cobbs, the Old Sacramento District events and marketing coordinator with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership.

“We’re really excited about the Gold Rush Beer Crawl this year,” said Cobbs. “Nine of the bars in Old Sac are participating this Friday night, and we’ve been working very closely with them to try to build that up and make it a key part of the local nightlife.”

For those seeking familiar offerings, Gold Rush Days will include many other year-round attractions which have made Old Sac a popular destination: excursion train rides, horse-drawn carriage and wagon rides, and historical tours, including the ever-popular underground tours.

In addition to the air-conditioned comfort of the Railroad Museum, where most of the M7 Con films and panels will take place, attendees can stroll down to Pioneer Park to enjoy a dunk tank set up for the festival.

Mail-order brides will also be arriving in Old Sacramento with letters in hand during Gold Rush Days, looking to find their future husbands. (Those lovely ladies are really actresses, by the way, so no proposals, please.)

Other melodramas playing out at Gold Rush Days feature a re-enactment of a ladies duel, another that spotlights a scandalous old-time murder trial, and one that features the visually spectacular Gold Rush Fire Brigade.

Historic cannon firings are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, and a mechanical bull will be on hand for any urban or real cowboys who want to impress one of those mail-order brides with their ability to “cowboy up.”

Gold Rush Days

When: Friday, Sept. 1-Monday, Sept. 4

Where: Old Sacramento State Historic Park

Cost: Many events are free; some are ticketed