22nd Street promoter 'shocked' by first-day crowd

22nd Street promoter 'shocked' by first-day crowd
(Source: KOLD News 13)

The 22nd Street Mineral and Fossil Show opened its doors to large first-day crowds on Thursday, Jan. 25.

The show is one of many to expand this year adding 60 new vendors, including an upper-end showcase.

It will run 18 days and it anticipates 50,000 visitors, in part due to an aggressive ad campaign.

"I was shocked," said Lowell Carhart, a show promoter. "We had a line two blocks long to get inside and it was an hour before opening."

Maintaining that kind of momentum for 18 days will be difficult but things look a bit different this year than last.

The dollar has lost value across the globe which makes coming here to do business much cheaper for international visitors.

"So they have more incentive to come," Carhart said.

Plus issues surrounding the B-1 visas created by the election of President Donald Trump have been eased.

"This year, things seem to be a bit more relaxed," he said. "There's less risk."

Generally, some of the international visitors are stopped at the border because of visa issues but that has not happened as frequently this year.

"That might have happened but I have not heard of it happening at our show," he said. In the past "it happened often."

Monica Kitt , from The Arkenstone Gallery of Fine Minerals, says they have been coming to the gem show since 1991, but this is their first foray into 22nd Street show.

The company is generally found at the Tucson Convention Center or at Westward Look.

Getting a great deal of attention is an aquamarine cross in one of their showcases.

It was found in Pakistan and is a naturally formed cross about 6-inches tall.

"It's one of a kind," she said. "We're really happy to have it so we keep it tucked away."

While it's not for sale, "everything has a price," she said.

Cory Cotter has been coming to the gem show for three years now but this is his first at the 22nd Street show.

"Tucson is the biggest of them all," he said "You can meet buyers, collectors from all over the world."

He's selling Michigan copper taken from mines which are now closed.

"This is an extremely rare specimen," he said pointing to his pride and joy, priced at several thousand dollars. "It was under intense weight of a glacier which was about a mile to a mile and a half thick."

He said that's what gives it's shape and makes it different, from say, Arizona copper.

"These are extremely rare specimens," he said.

The show is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. nightly for 18 days.

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