A Real Gem: Quartzsite, AZ

It’s that time again. Every winter the tiny town of Quartzsite is transformed into the Snowbird capital of the world.

Heading to the Big Tent at the Quartzsite RV Show. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This tiny desert town bursts at the seams each January when tens of thousands of recreational vehicles converge on Quartzsite for the huge Sports, Vacation & RV Show; gem and mineral shows; swap meets; art and crafts shows; as well as scores of other booths offering antiques, souvenirs, and “stuff” of all kinds.

So far this winter, street traffic, vendor and visitor permits, and event attendance have been high—all positive signs for the coming months.

As you approach Quartzsite from any point on the compass, you begin seeing them about 20 miles away from town—clumps, groups, and temporary communities of every possible type of RV circled around communal campfires like wagon trains of yore. Many solo units are also scattered among the sagebrush. During late afternoons and early evenings you will see campfire smoke billowing upward from these campsites.

“If you can’t find it in Quartzsite, you won’t find it anywhere.” © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Tyson Wells Rock and Gem Show begins this Friday (January 7) and continues through January 16. Rock enthusiasts from around the world head to this huge show where almost 300 dealers offer quality minerals, gems, fossils, jewelry, and lapidary tools. Blue topaz, bola ties, and black opals: if a stone can be polished, chances are you will find it here.

Located on the southwest corner of Interstate 10 and Highway 95, the Tyson Wells is one of Quartzsite’s biggest draws. More than 25 acres are covered with hundreds of vendors, and 2.2 miles of aisle frontage give visitors easy access. It offers everything from rocks to socks. It’s almost like eBay—everything’s out there.

Following is the Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama on January 21-30, where some 500 dealers showcase an unbelievable variety of items: antiques, coins, crafts, hobbies, jewelry, even more gems and rocks, and plenty of food.

Snowbirds come to browse amid recreational vehicles and RV products; and gems, minerals, crafts, and hobby shows—and the “mother of all swap meets.” © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

From February 4-13 the Tyson Wells Arts & Crafts Fair, offers creative, custom, and handcrafted works by about 200 national artisans.

Adding to the fun are numerous events throughout the season including Hi Jolly Daze parade on January 8; Sports, Vacation & RV Show January 22-30; Hobby, Craft, and Gem Show on February 2-6, Rock and Roll Classic Car Show February 5-6, and Chili Cook-Off & State Salsa Championship February 26.

For a complete listing of show dates, click here.

Worth Pondering…

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February. As the saying goes, “If you can’t find it in Quartzsite, you won’t find it anywhere.”

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