With the new arena coming to downtown, Old Sacramento has an opportunity to shine like never before. Here are a few ideas to turn something old into something bold.
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Old Sacramento has the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and its candymakers do create some of their sweet confections in the middle of the shop, but push that table right up against the glass facing the sidewalk. Not only will that draw more crowds, it will add to the sensory experience of everyone walking by. It becomes a public performance.
Another crowd-pleaser: Light. As mentioned above, the district’s annual holiday show, Theatre of Lights—during which the story of Old Sacramento, along with “The Night Before Christmas,” is told by lighting the buildings on a block-long stretch of K Street—is quickly becoming a Sacramento tradition, but it only plays for about a month a year. Here’s where Disney applies again.
In 2010, the Walt Disney Company descended on Old Sacramento for a few days to build buzz for its then-new “World of Color” attraction in Disney’s California Adventure Park. The company set up shop on Second Street for a few nights as it projected an eight-minute animated show (some of it Old Sacramento-specific) on the façades of several of the buildings, complete with music. It was a truly extraordinary spectacle, and one that, in some form or fashion, should be a regular feature. Some of Disney’s and Pixar’s top animators are from the Sacramento region; perhaps they could help.
On the topic of light, how about flickering streetlamps that emulate candlelight? Also, a few years ago, the district floated the idea of illuminating a sunken Gold Rush-era ship and building viewing platforms to allow visitors to see it. How cool would that be? And perhaps this is the perfect place to recreate the electrical light parade that Disney borrowed from us so many decades ago. It was ours in 1895; let’s reclaim it.
Old Sacramento is a true civic treasure, but it also remains a partially buried one, both literally and figuratively. With millions of new visitors coming to downtown in just a few years and just a few blocks away, there’s no time like the present—or in this case, the past—to “plus” one of our region’s top tourist draws, and make it a bigger draw for locals, too.
The new arena promises to be the most technologically advanced in the world—a virtual Tomorrowland of technology, if you will. But we have America's original Frontierland right here at our doorstep. Let’s bring back that pioneer spirit and make sure Old Sacramento doesn’t get lost in time. S