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Rock and gem show brings crowd to Paso Robles Event Center 

Santa Lucia Rockhounds, Ocean Arts Jade, Drew Arnold, Meagan Friberg

Artist and diver Drew Arnold of Oceans Art Jade talks with the Barnhill family about his Big Sur jade at the Santa Lucia Rockhounds’ Rocks and Gems Show on Sunday afternoon at the Paso Robles Event Center. Photo by Meagan Friberg

Santa Lucia Rockhounds showcase wonders of the earth at 25th annual rocks and gems show

–Thousands of people filled the Adelaida Building at the Paso Robles Event Center over the weekend for the Santa Lucia Rockhounds’ 25th Annual Rock and Gem Show. As in past years, the two-day event was an opportunity for all ages to learn and understand more about the geology, beauty, and wonders of the earth.

Santa Lucia Rockhounds, Richard Wade, The Dinosaur Guy, Meagan Friberg

A crowd favorite at the Santa Lucia Rockhounds’ Rocks and Gems Show, Richard Wade, better known as “The Dinosaur Guy,” captures the attention of his audience with his dinosaur presentation. Photo by Meagan Friberg

It was the fifth year that Drew Arnold, of Oceans Art Jade, took part in the show. With one of the more prominent displays at the event, attendees stopped to view his collection of jade jewelry, carvings, and sculptures and ask questions of the popular artist and diver.

“This is a great local show,” said Arnold, “and the new venue at the fairgrounds has been fantastic. The Santa Lucia Rockhounds do a great job and the show continues to grow each year; I think this year they had a record number in attendance. This is the real deal, with artists working the stone, vendors selling the stone, and others selling equipment to work the stone.”

Santa Lucia Rockhounds, Meagan Friberg

Hundreds of people filled the Adelaida Building at the Paso Robles Event Center over the weekend for the Santa Lucia Rockhounds’ 25th Annual Rock and Gem Show. Photo by Meagan Friberg

Featuring local geology exhibits, the show organizers beckoned those in attendance to learn more about “What’s in Your Backyard” through a variety of interactive displays including kids’ activities, lapidary demonstrations, gold panning, and geode cracking. The crowds enjoyed a seemingly-endless supply of crystals, petrified wood, minerals, fossils, and gems while vendors sold rocks, jewelry, and more. Throughout both days of the event, children had the opportunity to take part in a treasure hunt of sorts and win a fossil shark tooth.

Santa Lucia Rockhounds, Atascadero, Paso Robles Event Center,Meagan Friberg

Randy Donalies of Atascadero peruses geodes from the collection of Galen Moyer with his daughter and granddaughter, Tisha and Allie Aronsen, at the Santa Lucia Rockhounds’ 25th Annual Rocks and Gems Show. Photo by Meagan Friberg

The 2016 theme centered on the thunderegg, a roundish rock that is formed as the result of volcanic action, according to Santa Lucia Rockhounds member Barbara Bilyeu, and often filled with colorful agate or crystals. Galen Moyer, the featured exhibitor at the show, brought along his extensive collection of thundereggs from across the world.

“The neat thing about the thunderegg is that it is our club’s symbol, based on the Templeton ‘biconoid,’ the core of a thunderegg which has had the outside weathered away,” said Bilyeu. “These rocks have been turning up in local fields, particularly around Twin Cities Hospital, for decades, and the old-time farmers often have impressive collections of them.”

Santa Lucia Rockhounds, Hwy 1 Jewelry Designs, Jonelle Deering, Meagan Friberg

Tricia and Madison England of Atascadero spend an afternoon together at the Santa Lucia Rockhounds’ Rocks and Gems Show while admiring the creative works of Artist Jonelle Deering of Hwy 1 Jewelry Design. Photo by Meagan Friberg

Proceeds from the event will be used to further promote the study of geology and the lapidary arts in the community. For more information on the Santa Lucia Rockhounds, a nonprofit organization, visit Meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m in the Templeton Community Center, located at 601 S. Main St.; guests are welcome.



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About the author: Reporter Meagan Friberg

Meagan Friberg is a reporter for the Paso Robles Daily News and A-Town Daily News.