We all talk about the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase (the Chamber of Commerce's official name of the craziness) as amazing, and for good reason. We have done a lot of shows in a lot of towns over the decades, but no place appreciates the shows as much as the City of Tucson. There is a good reason for that too, Tucson businesses and tax collectors profit mightily from the mineral gem and fossil tourism; according to BizTucson, the regional business magazine, the 2014 event (the latest I have figures for) generated $120 Million in direct spending by visitors and dealers and $10.7 million in sales tax collections. We pack the hotels and restaurants and dealers spend huge amounts for storage facilities and support items. I've purchased business supplies, carpet, lighting and display equipment, car tires, batteries, and repairs and I'm sure I am not alone. I understand that the show weeks account for 20% of the annual hospitality business income! I have also attended concerts and opera performances and enjoyed many tourist attractions. Tucson is like a second home; I calculate that I have lived there an accumulated four years, at least, without ever being a resident. So it was particularly nice when I saw the following cartoon on the editorial page of the Tucson Daily Star, the city's best newspaper this year.
This page features Show Reports, Travel Notes, and other Items of Interest as they strike my fancy.
Some rooms were shuttered. Some had partly filled cases and crates. But some were full of happy collectors
For some reason this picture insists on being sideways. Maybe it is to help this Century plant find its way around this ceiling so it can grow taller. We are al watching and rooting for it. Please turn you computer sideways if you can.
I hope you enjoy seeing some of the non-mineral happenings. For being patient here is a 150 pound amethyst for your pleasure.
A big deal in town this year is the opening of the Mineral City Show in a custom built facility across the street from the Elks Lodge. This was announced last February and construction started in summer. It was to open officially today. Reports through Autumn were that construction was behind schedule. I drove by last week and saw lots of workers still there. There were also lots of frustrated dealers with truckloads of cabinets and inventory waiting to get I, But the available date slipped back daily. The Grand Opening party was scheduled for Feb. 1 long ago. Tonight it happened, although the building will not be fully one until next week (we hope) as the parking lot has not been coveted among other things. Nonetheless, most rooms were open tonight with drinks and snacks available and lots of fine specimens on display. It was a social success!
A very useful project of the city is the FREE gem Ride, a shuttle service that travels to many venues. That is especially nice because parking lots at most venues is limited and on-street parking is often 1 or 2 hours only. We are fortunate to have a shuttle stop at he Elks Lodge where the Just Minerals Event is held. That stop also serves four other nearby shows. Flyers for the routes are available. The routes include trolly stops and Parking Garages. www.GemRide.com and www.ParkTucson can provide all you need to know.
Last week Partly paved lot February 1
Well, it happened again, I got one report posted and the pressure of three consecutive shows on three weekends with one day in between to turn around dominated my life and I didn't get another posting done. Maybe next year.
But, it was a good year over all in Tucson. Our shows were well attended and the weather okay, particularly for Westward Look which has a lot of outdoor activity. After the shows were over we rested a bit in Tucson and were able to watch the snow fall in the valley. We had about 3 inches! Certainly not normal Tucson!
Speaking of 'normal' Tucson is changing.
Next year will be the last "Inn Suites" show. It will move to much nicer rooms and ballrooms at the Hilton Conquistador Hotel/Resort. I toured the facility to see what it is like and it is beautiful and spacious with no muddy parking lot. The rooms are NOT moldy and the plumbing DOES work. I think it is a great choice.
When I first went to that hotel, it was for John Barlow's party to announce his new book on his collection. I thought I was driving to Phoenix before I got there; it was north on Oracle way out in the country. Well, it is in the same place, but no longer in the country. It is about a mile north of Ina Road where Westward Look is located and will overlap dates with that Fine Minerals Show. That should be good for booth events. Cal Graeber and I have decided that the Graeber & Himes room at the Westward Look will open on Wednesday prior to the official opening on Friday. Others in our complex have agreed to do so as well. Be sure to check us out.
The other news is that the area of our Just Minerals Event at the corner of Oracle and Lester in downtown Tucson is now exploding into a major mineral center generally being referred to as Lester. We will continue in the Elks Lodge (northeast corner) on opening weekend but starting on Saturday in 2020, rather than Sunday. Across the street are the Sun Gem and Mineral City venues(northwest corner) and I have learned that building permits have been issued for two more building for mineral dealers beyond Mineral City. We also expect that the Jewel Tunnel remodel of the old LaFuente Restaurant building ( southwest corner) will be complete. Since Top Gem is already established adjacent to the Elks Lodge, this area is destined to be a major retail/wholesale venue for years to come.
The TGMS Main Show will continue to be the anchor of all the activity, of course, but early attendees in Tucson will have some excellent shopping options. Tucson is a wonder flu town. If you haven't Attended the show, pu it on your calendar or 2020!
One other piece of news is that there will be another new show in Denver in September. Our Just Minerals Event is opening and two day show at the Embassy Suites two exits west of the Crowne Plaza and we have expanded to include booths for Cornerstone and Mountain Minerals Int'l. Because our events feature major portions of the booths devoted to wholesale priced merchandise, we precede the major retail shows so this dealers can show with us. The show will be on Saturday and Sunday the weekend before the main show at the Merchandise Mart. Just Minerals Events have the majority of merchandise at wholesale prices but are free admission and open to anyone to shop. If you are in Denver or Tucson early come take advantage of the deals!
Note the man in the left photo and the desk lamp in front of the right side vug.
I mentioned the Tucson Daily Star and the city's support of the show above , well, here is some more on that topic. Asan organizer of and the contact person for the Just Minerals Event that opens on Sunday (see my events page) I was invited to A Chamber of Commerce reception for the official kickoff for what they call the Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase. The Showcase being the 48 venues operating for the next two weeks. Speakers include the mayor who honored the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society who started all of this decades ago, the police chief whose department does yeomen work to protect the shows and are really pretty lenient with the mass of folks who attend, particularly those accustomed to driving on the opposite side of the street. The show promoters who are present and recognized and thanked fo their contribution to the local economy and a pleasant time is had by all and included tasty snacks and a free bar. Pretty darn nice, I say.
Leonard Himes Dealer in Fine Mineral Specimens
I encourage you to become members of the Friends of the Geology Museum of the Colorado School of Mines one of our area's real treasures. The Friends sponsor monthly lectures, field trips, and special events.
I'll be posting Tucson reports here during the shows. See below. And check me out on FaceBook at Leonard Hime
First Report form Tucson 2019
The weather is great , I'm cruising the show venues in shorts. Many venues have some dealers open although the shows are just starting to be official operating. There isn't too much to report on new minerals, though. China seems to be keeping its new stuff and Pakistan/Afghanistan appear to be producing little unless it is going to China, too.
But the USA is doing okay. Their are incredible graphite crystals at Geologic Desires at Hotel Tucson (Inn Suites). We seldom get to see the undeniably best specimen of a species in the world, but it is there! And there are many others that are very affordable.
I recommend that everyone stop at Superb Minerals showroom on Main Street and go to the wholesale warehouse area. There is a side room there filled with HUGE complete pockets of Indian Zeolites. It was a mining crew with super ability that saved these. See below for an inadequate representation.