The Tucson Gem & Mineral Show Brings a Landslide of New Stuff to Rock Visitors in 2014
January 27, 2014
by James J. Jefferies
In 1954, a rookie from the Negro Leagues named Hank Aaron played his first game of Major League Baseball for the Milwaukee Braves. President Eisenhower would present a plan for an interstate highway system. Bill Haley and the Comets would record a single called ‘Rock Around The Clock’. Out here in the Old Pueblo, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society put on their first exhibit at a local elementary school. That show, the very first Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, was a smash success, and the event quickly gained more momentum than the boulder from Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
Sixty years later, the Tucson Gem, Mineral, & Fossil Showcase is still rolling, a globally-known phenomenon drawing visitors, vendors, and stone-cold geology enthusiasts from every corner of the world. Far too large for the confines of the Tucson Convention Center, the event literally fills every nook and cranny of the greater Downtown area, with countless booths spawned by exhibitors of every conceivable size. “One of the more exciting new elements for 2014 is the dramatic expansion of GemRide service,” said Jane Roxbury, Director of Convention Services for Visit Tucson.
The GemRide service will offer visitors transportation along known corridors packed with merchants, and their handy maps (available on a brand-new mobile site, easily bookmarked on a smartphone at tucsongemshow.org) also offer additional information about whether the vendors at a given stop are wholesale, public, or both. There will be three specific ‘loops’ the GemRide shuttles will follow, the Gem Loop, the Mineral and Fossil Loop, and the Bead Loop (a particular favorite, since it begins and ends at Tucson’s legendary Mi Nidito Mexican restaurant).
Of course, given the sheer scale and scope of this event, with vendors already streaming in from all over the globe before the main show’s official start on February 1st, there is every incentive for intrepid visitors to venture off the beaten path and explore a revitalized Downtown area bursting at the seams with new restaurants and watering holes. Nearly every hotel and parking lot in the Downtown area will be jam-packed with tents and merchants with untold treasures for sale. Who knows what you’ll find this year? Check out Visit Tucson’s Gem, Mineral, & Fossil Showcase portal here for daily updates as the show continues throughout February!