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It’s time for Agate Days again

Agate lovers take notice — this weekend is your time to rock.

At least that’s what Moose Lake city officials are hoping as they wait for the high waters to creep back away from the school. They are less optimistic about the Moose Lake City Campground next to the lake being inhabitable by the weekend, but the campground at Moose Lake State Park off Highway 73 and I-35 should be usable for event goers.

Weather permitting, the Carlton County Gem and Mineral Club and the Moose Lake Chamber of Commerce will host the 47th Annual Carlton County Gem and Mineral Show and Agate Days Festival Saturday and Sunday, July 16-17. The popular annual event features something for everyone, from the serious gem and mineral aficionado to the adventure-loving agate hunter.

Teeming hordes of all ages are guaranteed for the madcap Clark-Olsen Agate Stampede, set for 2-2:30 p.m. Saturday. Picture two dump trucks full of rocks laced with 400 pounds of agates and $400 in quarters spread down the two blocks of Elm Avenue in downtown Moose Lake. Now picture the starting cannon and a wild game of "finders-keepers" in the piles and piles of rocks and you begin to understand what the agate stampede is all about.

Known as the "Agate Capital of the World," Moose Lake is home to the world's largest agate on record, weighing in at 108 pounds. But it's not only agates on display this weekend.

Moose Lake High School will be the hub of the Gem and Mineral Show, featuring free admission Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event showcases jewelry, fossils and rock processing equipment as well as a dazzling display of the area's finest gems and minerals. New this year is a “kids dig” for ages 8 and under Saturday and Sunday in front of the school. The kids will also enjoy the gold panning display located outside in the parking lot, where even more gem and mineral vendors, called "tailgaters," will set up outdoors as well.

If folks feel inspired to hunt for agates in a more solitary setting, there will be open agate picking at area pits, with maps available at the Moose Lake Chamber of Commerce.

"Art in the Park" also will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Moose Lake City Park, featuring some 60 art and craft vendors as well as food and music.

On Sunday, an antique car show will roll out from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the City Park. There will be a $5 entry fee for participants who bring a donation for the food shelf, and $10 without. There will be concessions and awards.

Before making the trek to Moose Lake, please check the Chamber of Commerce facebook page or website as well as the Moose Lake City facebook page and website for updated information about Agate Days and the weather.

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