2020 NC Mineral and Gem Festival Scheduled
By Patti Jensen
Spruce Pine~2020 will mark the 61st Anniversary of the NC Mineral and Gem Festival in Spruce Pine. For sixty-one years, Spruce Pine has welcomed rock hounds and jewelry lovers to the NC Mineral and Gem Festival where they enjoy aisles and aisles of beautiful jewelry, gemstones, and minerals from around the country.
“The NC Mineral and Gem Festival has been an important part of our community’s history for over sixty years,” said Patti Jensen, Mitchell County Chamber Director. “This event celebrates our history as well as provides an economic impact on our small businesses that is especially important this year.”
The NC Mineral and Gem Festival is coordinated by the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce, the area’s largest business organization. “The decision to host the event this year was not made lightly, and our Board is working to provide a safe event for our attendees,” said Jensen. The prevailing support for the thought that our community and our small businesses need the event to take place was the overarching reason for the Board of Director’s decision to move ahead with planning.
“We are a small rural community and we love our community and the people that live here. We want to provide the safest event possible for them and our visitors. That means that the event will be different this year, with several safety precautions in place,” said Jensen. Visitors considering coming to the event this year are encouraged to read the safety measures that will be in place for the event on the Festival’s website at www.ncgemfest.com.
Spruce Pine, North Carolina has been deemed the most important mining district in the world and has celebrated nature’s resources in this mountain area for decades. “The world would come to a slow crawl without the rich minerals from the Spruce Pine area,” said Patti Jensen with the Mitchell County Chamber. “Spruce Pine provides over 90% of the world’s purest quartz for the production of computer chips among many other uses. And did you know that the “sand” at the Master’s in Augusta is trucked in from Spruce Pine?”
The popular mine tours will happen this year during the Festival on Thursday, July 30th, and Friday, July 31st. These tours are sponsored by The Quartz Corporation and visitors can visit a local working mine and dig for treasures to their heart’s delight. Anything they find they can keep! The tours are a ticketed item and require reservations. Space is limited and these tours are very popular so reserve spots early! Those interested in taking part in a tour will also need to read the extra safety measures that will be in place including face coverings and social distancing. The number of slots for the tours will be reduced this year as well.
Festivalgoers can enjoy shopping, ample parking, and nearby food services. Attendees can shop for fine jewelry from the top jewelers in the country, have their own custom jewelry designed on-site, as well as shop for minerals, gemstones, fossils, and beads. Local gem mining establishments offer special mine tours as well as special events at their business locations.
The week is full of activities including an outdoor gem show, the Grassy Creek Mineral, and Gem Show, sponsored by the Parkway Fire Department. This event is held the entire week from Sunday-Sunday and is just a few miles down Hwy 226 from the NC Mineral and Gem Festival.
The 61st NC Mineral and Gem Festival will be held July 30-August 2nd at the same location as last year. Just steps away from the former location and still located in the Spruce Pine Commons Shopping Center, the location boasts a beautiful 42,000 square foot space and will also host food vendors, a gift shop by area, and a special display by the Mitchell County Historical Society. The physical address of the location is 12085 South Hwy 226, Spruce Pine, NC. The times are Thursday-Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 12:30-5:00. Admission is $4 with Senior Citizens admitted on Thursday for $2 and Mitchell County Residents admitted on Sunday for $2.
For more information contact the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce at 765-9033 or visit www.ncgemfest.com. Sponsors of the Festival include Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce, Duke Energy, Quartz Corporation, and Western Sizzlin’.