Showcases Semiprecious Stones and Minerals
By Jeff Martin
We all stand and live upon rock.
Perhaps no place in Western New York better illustrates this fact than Rock City Park, a sprawling 40-plus acre wonderland owned and operated by Dale and Cindy Smith. From early spring until the end of October, visitors wander over, through and beneath massive rock outcroppings. Children come to play. Adults come to snap pictures. Most come to meditate on deeper meanings without even knowing it.
But on Oct. 12 – 14, visitors will have the opportunity to view rocks from even more different angles: from the palms of their hands.
The Rock City Park Gem and Mineral Show, now in its sixth year, will showcase approximately 15–20 vendors and the semiprecious stones and minerals they bring with them. Sellers from Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York will be in attendance, Dale Smith said, bringing with them anything from emeralds to geodes.
“It’s popular here,” he said. “It’s our biggest event of the year.”
Hosting a gem and mineral show at Rock City Park makes sense. Visitors are already in awe of nature’s offering outside, so why not bring the rocks inside the main hall and let people pick them up, handle them, learn about them.
“A lot of the sellers are very knowledgeable about what they’re selling,” Smith said. “There aren’t classes at the event per se, but the sellers are more than willing to explain their rocks and minerals.”
Popular since the event began is the tool that cracks open geodes for a waiting crowd. Buyers can buy an intact geode and have it opened.
“They never know what to expect,” Smith said. “Kids love it.”
Other popular offerings include petrified wood selections and semiprecious stones.
In addition, food vendors will be there as well and free cider samples will be offered.
Having owned Rock City Park since 2001, the Smiths said hosting such an event made sense because of what the park means to so many people in the area. The heyday of the park spans as far back as 1895 when it was owned by the Bucher family.
They held ownership of the area for decades (the state passed on purchasing it because of its smaller size) before it eventually passed to the Smiths, who own a popular hardware company chain in the area.
The Smith family has kept the park in its original state, adding 20 acres during their ownership. There is a large gift shop and main hall, Smith said.
“Especially during this time of year, it’s a great place to come for a day when the weather is nice,” he said.
Tickets for the show are $5 for everyone except children 12 and under, who are free. For more information, visit www.rockcitypark.com or call 1-866-404-ROCK.