Best Way to Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Rush to the Rockies (2009)
Dress panhandlers as gold-panners
In 1859, thousands of fortune-seekers braved the perils of the plains and joined the Rush to the Rockies, hoping to find a brighter future in the gold camps that had sprung up overnight in the western stretches of the Kansas Territory. Many of these prospectors turned back before they even saw the mountains; still others discovered just how tough it was to pull a living wage from the streams and gold mines, and instead settled in the little towns cropping up along the Front Range, including Denver. Exactly 150 years later, Denver's seeing tough times again. What better way to commemorate our hardscrabble past than to dress the panhandlers who beg at busy intersections in frontier duds, replacing their cardboard signs with pans that they can shake for gold, silver and other non-toxic Colorado assets.