(To the like 3 people who automatically heard that in their head in the voice of the character Cyrus from the movie The Warriors--congratulations, you're weirdos!)
I'm here to plug my club's show. This year, the dates are May 21 & 22. Hours are 10-6 on Saturday, 10-5 on Sunday. Admission is $2 per head except the mini-rockhounds; kids 12 & under get in free. It is a VERY kid-friendly show, with some fun activities just for the littles. This weekend, assorted club members will be heading over east of the Sapphire Mountains to pick up some buckets of coarse sand from a river where they know there are garnets and sapphires, and kids will have up to half an hour each to comb through the sand for tiny but beautiful gems of their own.
Other details include: we have 26 confirmed vendors, enough that if they all show up we might be pretty short on space. We will have paleontologist Dave Trexler from Two Medicine Dinosaur Center, who typically brings some fossils that are still being sweet-talked out of their stone matrix (and some interns to keep working on them while he interacts with visitors). Usually they also have a reduced-size cast of the skull of Sue the T-Rex. Club members will be running tables and milling about, answering questions about the club, the local geology, geology in general, rockhounding, gold panning, and "what is this rock I found in my front yard/driveway/shoe/etc?" There will be displays under glass from the club, from artists, and from collectors. The geode saw will be on site, and you can bring or buy rocks to have cut on it--last year I got some Mexican all-clear-quartz geodes and a handful of Priday & Frieda beds minis that turned out to all have opal inside! There's an ongoing raffle as well as at least one silent auction.
The location is, as always, the First Interstate Building on the Ravalli County Fairgrounds here in Hamilton, MT. If you've been in past years but not the last few, you're in for an extra treat--I think they finally paved the parking area! (It's 6:07 in the morning so my memory's a bit groggy, but I'll take a peek on my way to the riverbank later...) For more information, the club has a website that's in the process of massive updates but the URL is still working: www.bitterrootgms.org
and there's also a Facebook page, public group, under Bitterroot Gem and Mineral Society.
If anyone does make it and wants to do a spot of VERY local rockhounding, I had our awesome treasurer take a look at a couple of things I found on said riverbank at last night's meeting. One he IDd as aventurine, a fairly hefty river-cobble chunk in a lovely pale mint green with hints of aqua. The other, also worn smooth, is an 8-inch-long roughly triangular piece with lovely brecciated bits in it that I was sure was "just" jasper. Silly me..."What Is It, Wayne" says it's wood! (I frequently refer to him as What Is It Wayne because that's how I tend to greet him at meetings, and I think he knows every rock in this valley by first and last name...) Specifically, he called it 'bog wood', so what I've got is a chunk of fossilized swamp full of previously-fossilized and then broken-up driftwood! It's nice and rainy and gross today, so I'm going to see if the river will still let me sneak under the bridge from the fishing access and look for any more awesomeness. I'd also be happy to catch up with visiting board members at the show (which is all of like 6 blocks from my front door) and show them the huge "cobble bars" in the Bitterroot River if spring flooding hasn't covered them all by then--and if it has, you'll still know where there's free parking at the fishing access if you make it back when the waters recede.