For the past six decades, a terrific event that combines science, education, nature, art, and discovery has been happening at the base of the Tulare County foothills.
The Gemboree Rock and Gem Show, sponsored by the Tule Gem and Mineral Society, takes place every January in Exeter. The 61st annual show is Saturday and Sunday, January 21-22, at the Exeter Veterans Memorial Building, 324 N. Kaweah Avenue. On Saturday, the show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This family-friendly event is free to attend. That’s right—both admission and parking won’t cost you anything. Food and take-home items will be available for purchase, and gems, jewelry, rocks, and fossils will all be on display and for sale. Experts can answer questions and explain the differences between types of rocks and gems. You’ll also find books and lapidary supplies for sale, and there will be demonstrations such as rock cutting, beading, and polishing.
The Tule Gem and Mineral Society has about 100 members from across Tulare County. In addition to putting on the Rock and Gem show each year, the group visits schools and presents “Rock Talks.” The non-profit organization is dedicated to sharing knowledge of the lapidary arts and techniques, geology, mineralogy, and preservation of nature.
Take a Tour of Exeter While You’re Visiting
If you’ve never been to Exeter, this event is a great reason to get you there. Located about an hour south of Fresno, you’ll take Highway 99 South to Highway 198 East, drive through Visalia and go south on Highway 65.
Cattle ranching is a big part of Exeter’s history. It’s a rich agricultural region—considered the “Citrus Capital of the World,”—so you’ll notice a lot of citrus trees, especially navel oranges.
In addition to enjoying all the rocks and gems on display, you may want to drive around Exeter and take a look at all of the public art. The city is known for its vast collection of murals.
On the side of buildings both new and old, you’ll find artwork that depicts the history and beauty of the region.
More Info on the Rock and Gem Show
You can learn more about the Gemboree Rock and Gem Show, and the Tule Gem and Mineral Society, by visiting TuleGem.com. For a preview of what to expect from the show, check out this video ValleyPBS put together in 2014.