On the boardwalk in Old Sacramento this weekend during “Americana,” you might run into Cardini the Great. He’s a magician who can make things appear with slight of hand. But he hasn’t had much luck conjuring his usual labor day weekend crowd.
“It is not the same, man. When you walked to Gold Rush Days, you literally walked into the 1800s. It looked it. It’s smelled it,” Cardini laughs.
But Gold Rush Days was cancelled and replaced with Americana without much notice, after the Sacramento Visitors and Convention Bureau determined it would take too much water to wash the dirt off the streets.
The Old West style dirt streets are a hallmark of the event, and a necessity for horse races and other spectacles that can’t take place on cobblestone.
Usually Cardini the Great would be playing a riverboat gambler.
“Right now I’m below 50, and it’s 4:23. Last year I put 100 in front of that,” Cardini said.
Businesses in old Sacramento aren’t ringing up the same sales either. At Candy Heaven, they’re stuck with stock they bought planning for a sweet weekend- a weekend that’s gone a bit sour.
“We had no time to prepare. We already ordered the candy in advance, so it’s kind of a big disappointment,” said Darrin Kreb, owner of Candy Heaven.
The Sacramento visitors and convention Bureau vows Gold Rush Days will be back but for now this year no one striking it rich.