The Victor Valley Gem & Mineral Club held their annual tailgate campout over the weekend of March 8-9. The event is like a swap meet of sorts, with the attendees being “rock hounds,” and the coveted items being, well, rocks!
The venue for this event is a plot of sand in the desert seven miles out towards some hills, on a graded dirt portion of Stoddard Wells Road.
I’ve been interested in gems and minerals since I was a small child, after our neighbor gave me a “kit” identifying many different minerals and stones. He was a geologist, and to this day I wonder what my life would be like had I opted to become one, too. Instead I became a graphic designer, an art form of sorts, but not the lapidary arts, which I still find fascinating.
So, I packed up my 4-year-old granddaughter, Angelina, into my low-profile vehicle, and we headed out to the rock hound tailgate party. To my delight, she was quite taken with the different varieties and the many colors that rocks come in. For a girl who wants to be a ballerina, it was fun to see her eyes light up at the pretty sights, and also that she plopped right down on the dirt to play with some of her purchases.
Vendor Row was a series of trailers, tents and motor homes with folding tables set up to display the wares being sold. Mostly these items were of the gem and mineral category, including chunks of raw material, polished stones, faceted gems, figurines, jewelry, beads, and more. There were beautiful crystals and gemstones from as far away as Iraq and the Orient. If you’re into this kind of thing, it was pure pleasure to browse among the vendors. And the prices were beyond reasonable! What fun. The only problem with buy rocks is that they are heavy. We had to make three trips to the car to dump off our purchases.
There was one vendor that offered more than just rocks, and was reminiscent of your typical swap meet seller. He offered me the biggest bargain of all: 50 cans of Playdough in every color imaginable for $5 bucks! Angelina was thrilled with this purchase, but only was able to carry it about half-way to the car before admitting it was too heavy (this is where grandmas really come in handy).
In addition to the stones themselves, there was all kinds of equipment for sale to be used to manipulate them into all of their beautiful final products. And, some of the vendors were using their equipment to give demonstrations on this very subject.
This was much more fun than just picking up a rock or two when out traveling. The satisfaction of seeing so many varieties in one place made it a field day (literally)!
The club has regular meetings, educational lectures and workshops for those interested in this fun hobby. The VVGMC Tailgate Party is an annual event. You’ll definitely want to put this event on your calendar for next March. The clubhouse is located at 15056-B 7th Street, Victorville. You can get more information about the club, by calling (760) 243-2330.
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