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Head to the ‘agate capital of the world’ for a stampede

Agate lovers take notice -- this weekend is your time to rock. The Carlton County Gem and Mineral Club and the Moose Lake Chamber of Commerce will host the 46th Annual Carlton County Gem and Mineral Show and Agate Days Festival Saturday and Sunda...

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

The Carlton County Gem and Mineral Club and the Moose Lake Chamber of Commerce will host the 46th Annual Carlton County Gem and Mineral Show and Agate Days Festival Saturday and Sunday, July 18-19. 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 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 is 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 children’s agate picking area. 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.

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An agate and gem identification session will take place at the Moose Lake Public Library Community Center at 1 p.m. Saturday, and the Moose Lake State Park and Geological Interpretive Center will hold a free open house Saturday and Sunday, no state park sticker required.

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.

Other attractions during Saturday’s events include the annual Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast from 7:30-11 a.m. at the City Park, the Fireman’s Steak Fry from 4-7 p.m., and the Bluegrass Jam from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., also at City Park.

“Art in the Park” also will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at City Park, adjacent to the Gem and Mineral Show and 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. There will also be a parade of antique cars along Lakeshore Drive to Augustana Health Care Center Sunday.

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