If you’re throwing a Wild West gold rush party, it’s best to know a bit about the events inspiring it. America’s largest gold rush began when gold was discovered in California in 1848, causing 300,000 people to flock to the area in search of fortune, and lasted until 1855, when large mining operations began to overpower individual prospectors. Gold-seekers came from all over the globe and tended to live in upstart, makeshift communities, a few of which would eventually evolve into some of northern California’s most prosperous towns and cities.
When decorating for your party, try to make the space look and feel like an old-fashioned frontier town. Wooden saloon signs, stuffed/inflatable horses, and fake tumbleweeds will contribute nicely to the atmosphere. For extra credit, purchase a small sandbox and add fake gold and a few sifters, allowing your guests to embark on their own treasure hunts.
Costumes should resemble traditional images of cowboys and “life on the range.” Wide-brimmed hats, button-down vests, plaid shirts, blue jeans, and leather boots are all appropriate to the occasion, as are old-fashioned bonnets that tie under the chin and large, puffy dresses that button up to the neck.
This being the Wild West, whiskey is the obvious drink of choice. It’s a safe bet, though, that not all of your guests are going to be pleased if this is their only option, so get creative and think up some “gold-themed” cocktails and/or concoct a gold-colored punch. If you’re feeling adventurous, purchase a bottle of Goldschläger, a cinnamon liqueur that contains flakes of real gold, and serve it as a novelty.
Unfortunately, as there are no sound recordings that date as far back as the 1840’s, authentic gold-rush music is out of the question. You can still create a play list that reflects the era, though, by including some old-fashioned country songs or saloon-style piano music. A good place to look is on the soundtracks of early Hollywood westerns.
When you have finished your preparations, kick back, relax, and wait for your guests to arrive. Your party will be a surefire success!