We only participate in six shows a years and so when the Alpine Mountain Days Show comes around we try to be extra prepared. It’s the biggest show we sell at and while not juried it does draw a large crowd. This year’s crowd mix of locals and tourists was the largest the show has ever attracted.
The setup was on Thursday and of course it took us several tries to get the side curtains on right. We only use the canopy tent for two shows a year so it’s no surprise we have a little confusion. We were in the same spot as the last two years adjacent to the food venders.
On Friday the show started at noon and not a lot happened as Fridays show is usually a pretty slow day. Still people stopped by and many said they would come back which usually means you will never see them again. We did have a few sales and we did have a good start for the first day.
Saturday morning arrived and it didn’t take long before the crowd grew. Friends stopped by to ask us to identify their rocks and collections, and we always welcome that as it lets us meet local rock hounds and see what local rocks are waiting to be found.
One person brought us a doorstop that his mother had found in Minnesota. It was about a five-pound piece of a reddish amber and we both drooled at its beauty. Another showed us her agate collection. but this time they were all locally collected, and a young lady proudly showed us the river rocks she had painstakingly pried from the local river gravels!
Tourists from China pointed at our labeled jade as I had looked up the Chinese symbols for jade and added it to the case. One Chinese tourist showed me pictures of his rock collection and even though we couldn’t understand a word we both said we both understood each other’s love of agates.
The sales were steady but not record breaking and that’s what happens at our shows. Our pendants, rings, bracelets and fossils were the most expensive items for sale in their categories and you really need the right people to stop by.
We aren’t just selling jewelry we are selling stories and we can tell the story of each stone. I was a geology instructor for thirty years and Renita worked at a coal mine so we have fifty-five years in the rock business. We have also been collecting, working stone and making jewelry for the past eight years and so we have lots of stories to tell, (too often the other venders have no idea of the name of the rock they are selling).
Sunday morning was another perfect day with the temperatures in the seventies and little wind. Not much happened at first but by noon the crowd arrived and we were busy for most of the afternoon. The show finally closed and Renita continued selling as I packed everything up.It had been a great show and not just in sales. More important to us we had met many new people who also had a love of rock hounding and their passion and stories inspired us. We are collectors first and love what we do. When you retire be sure to find a new passion or continue a life-long one, if you do you will never grow bored and you will find out that the days are two short! Clear skies