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Come One, Come All… FREE Sesquicentennial Community Day on May 8

One of Many Events to Commemorate 150th Anniversary of the Completion of the Transcontinental Railroad

SACRAMENTO – The California State Railroad Museum & Foundation invite the community to be part of history-in-the-making during a FREE Sesquicentennial Community Day on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. While the rest of the nation will likely recognize the achievement on May 10, Sacramento will begin the commemoration on May 8 to replicate history as closely as possible. As background, the planned completion date of May 8, 1869 was delayed by two days due in part to a labor dispute and a major storm. With plans in place and dignitaries already poised to participate on May 8, Sacramento commemorated the completion in grand style two days before the rest of the nation.

This FREE, family-friendly Community Day is one of a series of special events, activities and exhibits happening to recognize how the completion of the 1,912-mile continuous railroad that helped connect the country, shape the nation, and put the United States on a path to economic prosperity while highlighting Sacramento’s pivotal role in the remarkable feat.

Free Sesquicentennial Community Day Event Schedule – May 8, 2019

9:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. – Procession

  • The community is encouraged to attend a historic re-creation of the procession that took place on May 8, 1869 complete with historic flags, Living History characters in period attire (including the Big Four), the coveted Gold Country fire brigade (as seen in the 2019 Rose Parade), horse-drawn carriages transporting local and state dignitaries, players from the Sacramento Vintage Base Ball Club, and more. The procession starts at 2nd & I Streets, proceed right on 2nd Street, turns right on L Street, goes right on Front Street and ends at Front & K Streets. The public is invited to line the streets to watch the procession.

10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. – Bronze Plaque Unveiling

  • With key local and state dignitaries in attendance, the community is invited to an official public unveiling of a new granite monument and bronze plaque at “mile marker zero” at the western terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad located at Front & K Streets.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Free Excursion Train Rides

  • The community can enjoy complimentary historic and authentic excursion train rides aboard the Sacramento Southern Railroad throughout the special day (train rides depart on-the-hour).

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Free Entertainment & Community Picnic

  • A Community Picnic encourages the community to bring a sack lunch and blanket and enjoy the festivities taking place on the 1849 Scene (the big grassy area in front of the Railroad Museum). Guests will be treated to live music, free sarsaparilla (while supplies last), docents in period attire, the Gold Country Fire Brigade, and Sacramento Vintage Base Ball Club players playing catch and interacting with kids.

1 p.m. – Free Melodrama Performance

  • A free, entertaining and interpretive Transcontinental Railroad melodrama performance titled “The Quest for the Gold Spike” will take place in the historic Eagle Theatre (space is limited, interested guests should arrive early).

3 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Happy Hour Specials

  • For those ages 21+, many restaurants and bars along the Old Sacramento Waterfront will offer Happy Hour drink specials including the “Localmotive” being offered by The Firehouse (made with vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, local basil leaves and a lemon wheel garnish) and the “Golden Spike” being offered by Hoppy’s Railyard Kitchen & Hopgarden (made with Highwest American Prairie bourbon, egg white, lemon juice and California Wildflower Honey simple syrup).

6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Free Auburn Road Concert

  • Pop-Country trio, Auburn Road – that made their Stagecoach Festival debut last year and opened for Morgan Wallen, Love & Theft and country music legend Toby Keith – will perform high-energy music with an infectious style, sass and spirit. The free outdoor concert will take place along the Embarcadero on the Waterfront near Front Street between J and I Streets.

Walkable, car and bike friendly, getting around the Old Sacramento Waterfront is easy with multiple parking garages, plenty of metered spaces and more. Also, SacRT is offering free light rail rides that day from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for those who download this flyer:

In addition to the FREE Sesquicentennial Community Day on May 8, two other key community events will follow later in the month including a black-tie Gala – with music provided by the high-energy Northern California cover band, Cover Me Badd – at the California State Railroad Museum on May 11, plus a large-scale Waterfront Days heritage event at the Old Sacramento Waterfront happening May 24-26. Gala tickets are sold out; corporate sponsorships are still available for both events.

For more details and updated information about these events and activities presented by the California State Railroad Museum & Foundation, visit

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