Gem Show to Rock Turlock

Courtesy of Mother Lode Mineral Society

With rocks, minerals, and dinosaur fossils, the 47th Annual Turlock Gem and Mineral Show will a fun-filled and educational weekend for children and parents alike.

The annual show, held by the Mother Lode Mineral Society at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, is one of the largest such shows in the state. This year's show will be held from March 9 to 10.

When Terry McMillin and her husband Bud took over the Turlock Gem and Mineral Show as chairmen in 2004, the show drew a mere 1,200 individuals. Now in their 9th show as co-chairs, Terry and Bud McMillin have increased attendance to nearly 8,000 people annually.

“We did it by making the show very educational,” said Terry McMillin. “We go to local schools throughout the county and network with them. In doing so, we have access to their school books, and so we started showcasing exhibits based on what they’re doing in school as far as science goes.”

With a devotion to education, the Mother Lode Mineral Society and its members helps educate the public in many areas including earth science, lapidary arts, gem carving, fossils, geology, florescent minerals and much more.

The emphasis on interactive learning leads many student to create lasting memories, Terry McMillin said.

“When you get to touch the rocks and the fossils, it becomes a locked memory. Instead of just reading, students are learning things that they will never forget. I mean, how often do you get to touch a real dinosaur bone? You don’t forget that.”

This year’s show will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 9 and 10 at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds and will feature a presentation by guest speaker Richard Wade, who will lead an interactive and fun demonstration discussing how dinosaurs lived. Through explaining the geologic time scale, Wade will discuss how fossils are created and will display a full-scale model of a T-Rex skull. Wade will also give an explosive presentation on Volcanoes on Saturday.

With various rocks, mineral and fossil specimens, along with artifacts and field-collected items, people of all ages can learn something new. Real fossils on display also include dinosaur bones, a dinosaur footprint, a dinosaur nest with fossilized eggs, and coprolites.

Neal Larson, one of the world's most famous paleontologists and President of the Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences, will also be present at the Turlock Gem and Mineral show displaying some of his personal collection of dinosaur bones and fossils.

The Tethys Ocean Project is back for the 8th year with an incredible marine fossil exhibit featuring the 5-foot-wide jaws from a 32-foot Megladon – known for having the most powerful bite of all marine creatures. Also featured is a large fluorescent tent where families can find several display cases full of fluorescent rocks and minerals.

With the combination of various fun and exciting exhibits, a snack bar, raffle and other games and prizes, the 47th Annual Gem and Mineral Show is an event the family won’t want to miss, organizers said.

“It really is just incredible,” said Terry McMillin. “We basically bring in a museum for everyone to enjoy and we have the experts here to talk to and to answer your questions. It’s a fun and educational day for everyone.”

Admission is $6.00 for adults, and free for children 12 with a paid adult. The Stanislaus County Fairgrounds is located at 900 North Broadway in Turlock.

To learn more about the Mother Lode Mineral Society, visit www.motherlodemineralsociety.com.

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