Don't miss Agate Days in Moose Lake


People from all over the country are awaiting the 46th annual Agate Days coming up this weekend in Moose Lake on Saturday, and Sunday, July 18-19.

The Moose Lake State Park and Geological Interpretive Center is hosting an open house both days. No state park sticker is needed. The state park is located just beyond the south freeway entrance/exit to Interstate 35. Stop in and see the display of agates from all over the world.

To help alleviate the parking problem, Moose Lake Motors will provide shuttle service from various parking lots around town, such as the funeral home on Folz Boulevard – Highway 27-73, and from the Hope Lutheran Church parking lot behind the building.

For people who would like to go and find agates in gravel pits, maps are available at the chamber office, located by the moose at the intersection of Highway 61 and Arrowhead Lane.

Start off the day Saturday morning with a pancake breakfast served by the Kiwanis Club members from 7:30 to 11 a.m. in the city park. Those Kiwanians practiced their skills at the fly-in, drive-in pancake breakfast at the airport in June, and will be ready to serve the crowds that will be in town for Agate Days.

The kids can pick agates in a quiet shady spot on the south end of the school, not far from the park, in the same spot it was held in last year. For years, the Moose Lake Area Chamber of Commerce has tried to have a separate area for the kids to pick agates but too many adults crowded in to take pictures and dig for their own agates. This has been a beautiful solution, where the kids can pick to their hearts’ content, without the fear of being trampled.

The kids can dig through clean dirt in small swimming pools, and the adults have to stay behind a string around the agate picking area. More agates are seeded into the dirt as the kids find and remove the agates. The kids’ agate picking area will be open all day both days except for two hours during the agate stampede Saturday afternoon.

The fun begins at 9 a.m., when the Gem and Mineral Show opens at the school gym. The hours for the weekend are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, thanks to sponsors Carlton County Gem and Mineral Club and the Moose Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

Exhibitors and vendors bring their wares from all over the nation. Visitors will find fossils, minerals, jewelry, knickknacks and so much more from all over the world. Many special specimens are just for show while others are available for purchase. It’s the region’s largest gem and mineral show, the poster claims.

Don’t forget to go into the back parking lot and check out the rough agates sold by tailgaters, people who have their finds on display by their vehicles. People can even pan for gold.

In the park, next to the school, is Art in the Park, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More than 60 artists and handcrafters from the local area and throughout the region bring their wares and hand-crafted items to the park, where shoppers can wander the tree-shaded grounds and find just that right thing or unique work of art. Enjoy the food and music.

The Blue Grass Jam starts at 11 a.m. and plays until 5 p.m. at the band shell in the park.

People who have been to Moose Lake for the Agate Stampede before know to get downtown to Elm Avenue early in the afternoon to get their spot on the soon-to-be-packed sidewalks.

Starting at 1 p.m. an Agate and Rock Identification Presentation is given at the community center, located next to the library, located between Third and Fourth streets. The program is presented by the Minnesota Geological Society.

And then, head out to the street to get a good spot to await the Clark-Olsen Agate Stampede.

The stampede is named for Floyd Clark of Moose Lake and Tom Olsen of Carlton, who were the pioneers and longtime supporters of Agate Days.

Ropes hold people back from the street, which has been closed off between Fourth and down to Second Street, from First National Bank to the post office.

Last year, the crowd that packed the sidewalks on both sides of the street was estimated at over 3,000 people. It was the largest crowd ever for the agate stampede, chamber organizers said.

Near 2 p.m., two big trucks slowly make their way down the street and dump rocks, seeded with 400 pounds of agates and $400 in quarters. The crowds are held back until the sound of the cannon is heard.

The ropes are dropped, and the people dive into the pile on the street to find their treasures.

It’s a sight to see. It’s both a participant and a spectator event. Cameras capture those special moments that can’t be found anywhere else. People can keep what they find.

Buckets of water will be placed and filled by the fire department along the sidewalks for people to use to wash their agates. People are asked not to wash their agates in the drinking foundation or bathroom sinks in the community center. The dirt plugs the drains.

After the stampede, many people head over to the gem and mineral show at the school or to the park for the art fair.

Starting at 4 p.m., head on over to the Emergency Response Center, located just south of the chamber building and moose on Highway 73, where the firefighters and their families are holding a steak fry. The firefighters do this every year, and people know they cook tasty steaks. Their families help out serving the remainder of the meals.

The number of steaks served is limited to 500. People know to get there early or maybe miss out on a great meal. The proceeds from the steak fry are a fund-raiser for the fire department.

The steak fry ends at 7 p.m.

The gem and mineral show opens at 9 a.m. Sunday morning and closes at 4 p.m.

The children’s area by the south end of the school will also be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The park will again be the place to go to see Agate Days Classic Car Show, starting at 10 a.m.

Classic car owners have committed to bringing their cars for the show but others can come and enter that morning. Just come to the park in your classic beauty.

The entry fee is $5 and a can of food for the food shelf or $10 without a food shelf donation.

That show ends at 2 p.m. See more information in a separate article.

Agate Days is a fun-packed weekend unlike any other festival or event in the area. With so many free events, it’s a perfect place to bring the family.


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