by Max Hatch, Founding Member, Prescott Gem & Mineral Club
In 2002 the Prescott Gem & Mineral club was busy organizing itself, and some of the members of the club decided to promote a sale and show. About six to eight members set up a “tailgate show” at the Yavapai County Fair at the Yavapai County Fairgrounds. It was successful enough that the club wanted to have a real show in 2003.
The three board members agreed to perform some maintenance and construction work in exchange for space at a much-reduced rate at the fairgrounds. Members researched other shows/sales to learn how to run such events, and then contacted dealers to sign them up for the following year’s show.
The first space we could rent was in the poultry barn one week after the fair’s closing. The entire club was recruited to bring shovels, rakes, brooms and a lot of elbow grease to clean the chicken “leftovers” off the floor. The show was held at the fairgrounds for three more years.
The club’s board realized we needed a better location, so the group started to search for one. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University was contacted. It was determined we could use the site, and they offered us a contract. After a couple of years, ERAU made some major renovations so we had to find another place for our show.
We moved to Prescott Valley Event Center (then Tim’s Toyota Center), as the town of Prescott Valley was looking to expand the number and type of attractions and businesses to garner more visitors. With mutual agreements of dates, rent and personnel, the club signed a contract for three years. Floorplans were discussed and planned, vendors were contacted, and volunteers of the club were enlisted to help in various areas.
The show has grown not only with the vendors’ attendance, but each year the public attendance increases. This year, we have over 60 vendors in attendance.
The club was organized to foster the development of amateur lapidary and jewelry craftsmen, to foster an interest in mineral collecting, to present educational programs designed to improve knowledge, craft skill and to promote public interest in these areas. Scholarships are also awarded to applicants who would like to increase their knowledge in geology.
The 15th annual show/sale will be held at the Prescott Valley Event Center Aug. 3, 4 and 5. Friday and Saturday the hours are 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, veterans and students. Children younger than 12 are free with a paid adult admission. For more information, visit prescottgemmineral.org.