A decade ago, the staff at Muskallonge Lake State Park decided to organize a small agate show. In the first few years, the show was quite small and very quaint. As the years went by, the show grew in popularity until it exceeded the ability of the state park to handle the show’s large size. Since the park was under major construction and renovation this summer, they canceled the show in early spring. A movement was started on Facebook to move the show to Grand Marais. Although I was not involved with the Facebook push, I was asked to lead the effort. Before agreeing to do so, I called the superintendent of Muskallonge and asked if they wanted the show back after this year, or whether they wanted the show to stay in Grand Marais. Park staff admitted that the show had grown beyond their capacity, so the decision was made to permanently move the show to Grand Marais.
The objectives for the Rock-On Festival are to:
- Provide a venue for rockhounds to feed their passion, purchase specimens and other related items, and increase their understanding of rocks and minerals.
- Attract visitors to Grand Marais in a slower tourism week situated between the summer season (ending on Labor Day), and before the fall color season to help generate revenue for Grand Marais businesses.
- Provide a venue for dealers to sell their rock and mineral items.
This show was extremely successful. We had more than 1,500 attendees, 25 dealers who rented 33 booth spaces, six food vendors, and seven information presentations. The food dealers included four food trucks, breakfast served both days by the Grand Marais Snow Trails Club, and a Keynote Speaker dinner on Saturday night served up by the Grand Marais Women’s Club. This dinner sold out since it was limited to only 125 people.
Thanks to everyone involved in helping to make this inaugural rock and mineral show a success! It will be held again next year at the Community Center in Grand Marais, MI (located on Brazel Street across from the Gitche Gumee Museum) the weekend after Labor Day (September 12-13, 2020). Once more information is available about next year’s show, please go to grandmaraisrockonfestival.com. You can also go to our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Grand-Marais-Rock-On-Festival.