Treasures in store at Alberni Valley Rock and Gem Show

New location at Alberni Athletic Hall

Debbie Frank of Gemfinders International, right, and Amber Lansdell will be among vendors this year. MIKE YOUDS PHOTO

MIKE YOUDS

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

Don’t go hunting for the rock and gem show at Cherry Creek Hall this weekend.

Alberni Valley Rock & Gem Club has pulled up stakes and moved the annual event to Alberni Athletic Hall.

Ron Creber, show chairman, said they’ve had to turn away some vendors in the past due to limited space. One vendor had to wait for three years to land a table. Now the group can host more than twice as many with about 70 signed up for March 10-11, possibly making this the largest rock and gem show on the Island, he said.

The show is a popular family attraction, a chance to discover the science and beauty contained within the rich mineralization in B.C. and beyond. While it’s a serious pursuit for some, rockhounding is also about outdoor fun and the quest for discovery, Creber said.

Club members have crafted 550 “treasure rocks” for curious kids to chip away at in search of toys and money. Demonstrations and static displays accompany the sale of crystals, rocks, minerals, fossils, jewelry and silver.

After nine years with the group, Creber still considers himself a relative newcomer to a club that’s been actively rockhounding since 1958.

“They’ve been putting on this annual show the last 30 or 40 years,” he said. “It’s very popular.”

It is a valley tradition of sorts with successive generations of families returning each year.

By connecting with the broader community, club members hope to interest others in joining. Creber noted that they’ve lost three of their senior stalwarts in the past year, including one of the club’s founders, Fred Boyko.

There are no qualifications to join other than an interest in geology, precious stones or rockhounding.

“I think a lot of people are just interested in nature,” Creber said. “They’re curious and want to learn from those who are educated and have experience.”

The show takes place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

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