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SACRAMENTO - Boating and swimming aren't the only summer activities in the Sacramento region being impacted by the drought.

Old Sacramento's "Gold Rush Days," a summertime tradition for many locals and visitors will be canceled this year due the state's ongoing water crisis.

"Gold Rush Days" is Sacramento's annual heritage celebration. Each year, event coordinators use nearly 200 tons of dirt to return Old Sacramento to a scene out of the 1850s. In addition to the visual transformation, the dirt also allows for a safe foundation for the horses, wagons and for various skits and performances to take place in the streets.

However, it takes up to 3,000 gallons of water per day to keep the dirt dampened and dust down during the event – plus up to 100,000 gallons of water to clean up the dirt at the conclusion of the event, according to a release issued on behalf of the event.

"The volume of water necessary to return Old Sacramento to its pre-event condition is beyond significant," Sacramento Convention and Visitor's Bureau President and CEO Steve Hammond said. "Dirt-covered streets is clearly not an option during the continuing drought which impacts the event on multiple levels including the safety and well-being of the horses, riders and performers. In addition, the dry conditions pose a heightened potential fire danger during Gold Rush era cannon and weaponry demonstrations. After exploring and exhausting a variety of alternatives, the decision was made to cancel the traditional Gold Rush Days activities for this year."

Hammond added, "It is our sincere hope that drought conditions will ease so we can resume this signature heritage celebration next year and make it bigger and better than ever," added Hammond.

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