2018 Gemboree – Preview

UPDATE: Here’s a sneak peak at what’s being organized for our Gemboree

2018 Vancouver Island Gemboree poster and sign up form

If you are a club member and are interested in helping with this event, please email Allana Shillito at vlms@vlms.ca

Our club is responsible for hosting the 2018 Gemboree.   To give you an idea of what the Gemboree is about, I am reposting this article on the 2017 Gemboree with the kind permission of Gordon Burkholder of the Ripple Rock Gem and Mineral Club. Put your thinking caps on and brainstorm ideas (use the forum or the mailing list) – can we do as well this year?

Vancouver Island Zone Gemboree

The 2017 Gemboree for the Vancouver Island Zone was held on the North Island at Cluxewe Resort from July 20 until the 23rd. There were 101 registered Rockhounds representing clubs from all 6 Island groups, 2 lower mainland clubs and a Kootenay club plus members from 3 American clubs (all from Arizona) and a couple from Europe to round things off. The participants ranged in age from 8 to 80.

The organizing committee, comprised of Janice Boyes, Shane Mawhinney, Kathy Young, Linda Henderson, Faye Thompson and myself, were all motivated in our jobs by the exemplary Gemboree held by the Cowichan club last year. Their organization and enthusiasm just filled us with a desire to continue on and build on that successful event.

We began our planning last September and decided upon a date and location first. Each of the committee members chose an activity to be in charge of and preparations began. I booked space at Cluxewe Resort and they were to accommodate our event providing us with a covered pavilion and tables as well as BBQs to assist us in providing for all of our expected guests. The schedule and itinerary were set up to provide rockhounds with a full, but hopefully not overloaded, 4 day’s worth of activity.

Rockhound gathering at the Potluck dinner held on Friday evening under the ‘Big Top’



The first day was simply registration and a tailgate sale. Jan Boyes handled the registration and the tailgate was open to any and all.

Day 2 Started early with marshalling for the 3 field trips organized by our wagon master Shane Mawhinney. We had demonstrations organized by Beba Adams at 4 p.m. and a potluck supper at 6 under the ‘big top’.

Beba demonstrating wire wrap techniques. Faye Thompson in the background showing beading methods.

The 3rd day also began early with the fieldtrips leaving the Resort at 8:30. People were glad to have seen what was collected from the previous day’s trips and it was easier to decide where to head out on this day. There was a BBQ dinner organized by Kathy Young and assisted by a whole bunch of volunteers and held under the ‘big top’. Fire rings kept everyone warm and there was a lot of friendly socializing afterwards.

Sunday started with the pancake breakfast that was organized by Linda Henderson. The coffee was hot and the cakes were flying off the griddles. Everyone got their fill! Organizing for the auction spearheaded by Faye Thompson, started right after the breakfast and the event was ready for previewing by noon. Bidding started at 1 p.m. and the final item was sold off by 2:15.

Our accountant gave us broad strokes as far as expenses and income and we feel it was a success netting the Zone around $700 after expenses were covered and the profits split.

Field trip destinations were determined as being those in the area that would provide the most interest and accommodate a large number of rockhounds. The Merry Widow mine with its large array of minerals was an obvious choice. It didn’t disappoint. Carrie Maire came away with the most spectacular find of magnetite and calcite with 0 .75 cm garnets adorning the perimeter. But her find was not the only treasure taken away from the site.

Click pictures to see slide show.

The second location was the Colonial Creek area around Port Alice. It had 3 stops in total. The creek itself yielded many interesting specimens of chert, conglomerates, and porphyries. The marble dump site a few kilometers away had many people gathering a sample and several came away with ‘gold’ (pyrite) crystals attached to the marble. Quite unique and very exciting! The final spot was just at the edge of the town site where we collected picture stone, marble, and other interesting specimens.

Click pictures to see slide show.

The 3rd location for the field trips was in the Bonanza Lake area around Telegraph Cove. It gave up the largest specimen of the week end, a piece of white marble for carving that came in at around 90 Kg. Large and small pieces of the Gordonite were collected from the Kokish River area just a few kilometers away.

This massive piece of Gordonite now adorns an attendees yard.
Bonanza Lake
A marble cave in the Bonanza Lake area

No matter the location, all participants came away with some great rocks! And many will have wonderful tales to tell. Young and old rockhounds were enthused by the treasures that they collected.

As as organizer I was very pleased with how the event unfolded and appreciative of all the work that went into making it a ‘success’. The committee worked long and hard and can be proud of what they accomplished. We tried our best to make this a memorable event for all and I have to think that it we achieved that goal. I am looking forward to next year’s event which is being hosted by the Victoria Club.

Gordon Burkholder