Geode Fest 2021

Well I thought I had posted this story late last year, but cannot seem to locate it now, so will re-post as much of it as I can remember, meaning the highlights. 🙂

I recall getting up there early last year to visit with vendor friends, namely my buddy John Oostenryk, good friends Charity and Jamey Moog, Dennis Kossow, Kirk the Geode Fest Director, and since 2021 was the first year for Greg Coleman and Johnboy from Haunted Ridge Druse Farm, I wandered over to find them setting up their booth soon after I arrived. They were going to be selling druse quartz from Greg`s farm each day, so naturally I visited with them each day they were there and provided them with insight from my many past experiences during several years of Geode Fest. 

…and across the way from their booth were several tables covered with Viburnum Trend Minerals…albeit expensive ones…and I was especially intrigued with two huge clusters of calcites from the Fletcher Mine that were on display…I dont believe either one sold while there, but they were sure beautiful….here is one….

I was told a day later, that the price tag on it was $ 2500…that prob explains why it didn`t sell while there. I also recall the price didn`t get lowered on the last day, either. Here is another photo of the booths at Geode Fest 2021….

Pete Hahn came up on Saturday, to help Johnboy and Greg work their booth, and went out hunting with me on Sunday morning. The first couple of days I went hunting with John and Sie Shell from Northwestern Iowa, went with us. I had met Shell a year or two before, she is a friend of my Tennessee Rockhound friend Abigail, who has been under the weather for a couple of years now with some health related problems, we hope to see her back out rockhounding with us soon. Shell joined John and I on one of the Railroad Creek locations, upstream from our friend Josh`s place. As usual, Shell and I could not keep up with John that morning….

I had two buckets filled fairly quickly and decided to go back to my truck with them…on the way, I snapped a photo of Shell posing next to the creek…

I remember posting this photo of her on my FB page and several comments from good friends here locally, saying ” they now understood the obsession of rocks now “……or something like that. I got a good chuckle out of it.  🙂   

It was pretty warm last year and I recall visiting the Amish booth with the home made ice cream a few times that weekend. Each evening, several of us went out to eat to the Italian Restaurant in downtown Keokuk, Angelini`s Ristorante is what it`s called, great low light atmosphere inside a remodeled storefront on Main Street and great food, too….

Josh and his wife Jennifer, joined us each evening for dinner there and we sampled the wine selections as well.

Saturday morning Shell and I went back to Railroad Creek and walked downstream to a few locations, she wanted to check out a secret location for geodes…we dug there in the hillside for a bit, didnt find much, and then we walked on down the creek to another place where I had good luck finding good stuff, geodes and calcite chunks, along with John and Chuck Reed, a few years before…we dug into that short bank for quite a while…

I think the best days of collecting were the first day and the last day…Pete and I went to Josh`s Railroad Creek Farm location on Sunday morning, got there ahead of the crowd by different route, and walked upstream to a certain spot we had been directed to, that supposedly had purple interior geodes. I called to check on Shell, and she told me she was preparing to head home early, had changed into her clean clothes and was headed out the door, then asked where we were going…told her we were on our way to RR Creek to find the purple interior geodes…and the line went quiet for a long second, and then she freaked out, decided she would join us, and showed up about 15 minutes later. She wasn`t real happy about it, but excited to see what could be found…amethyst in geodes seems to really bring out the ” FREAK ” in some people. 🙂

As we were walking down thru the brush on a short cut to the creek, I was leading the way with Shell behind me narrating one of her many videos for her sales page, and I recall her telling her people ” that she had woke up that morning and decided to head home, but then received a phone call from some a__hole who told her he and a friend were going to a location that is known to have purple interior geodes…. so she had to change back into her dirty clothes and drive over to join them and now was following the a__hole thru the brush to the location. ” 

I was chuckling about it then, thinking whatever, not like we twisted your arm and made you come with us, sounded like a bit of whining to me. I didnt realize she was recording it til later, when I had several friends see her video and emailed me to tell me she was referring to me as the a__hole on the video, and they were not happy about it. I was like whatever but I understand that she had some blowback on it and this year when I saw her, she apologized for it. We remain good friends. We dug into that bank like there was no tomorrow, and while we found a few geodes, we didn`t find many we could keep due to the size and very few of them felt hollow…

…when you arent finding good stuff…you dont last long at that location and tend to move on to another…

She also got a bit perturbed with me for cracking open my geodes right then and there, when I was pulling them out of the mucky clay mud and dirt…it was dry dirt under the tree roots and clay mud all over the rest of the bank. I was pulling cannonball sized geodes out and while I did break some into three pieces, I also managed to cleanly break a few hollows into just halves…like this pair….

many of the ones I smashed into a million pieces weren`t that great to look at anyway, so no big loss to me, and I wasn`t setting a bad example for any younger rockhounds as there was no one around us for awhile anyway. As far as I recall, we did not find any geodes with amethyst inside them, but we had a good workout and a good time trying. She headed home soon after that and I returned to the booth area to visit with friends before heading home.

John showed me some geodes he picked up from a dealer a few booths away…

…and I snapped a photo of a couple of guys holding one of the biggest geodes I had seen that weekend, one that John cracked open for them soon after I returned to the venue…

I also found out that Greg and Johnboy had done well on druse quartz sales, they were able to sell everything they brought with them.