Bundaberg Gemfair has made a sparkling return with collectors and curious community members packing the Main Pavilion at the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct.
The 27th event proudly showcased the 56-year history of the Bundaberg Gem Club, which attracted fossickers from around Queensland to the region.
As soon as the doors opened on the Saturday the Main Pavilion was a hive of activity, with eager gem enthusiasts keen to pick up a bargain.
Bundaberg Gemfair coordinators Jodi Prange and Trish Flynn, along with the executive committee, thanked the volunteers who made the two-day event possible.
After a quarter of a century Trish may have handed over the organising reins to Jodi, but she remains heavily involved in making the weekend a huge success.
“We’ve had 27 Gemfairs, and this is the first one in this venue – the venue is fabulous, the crowd has been very supportive – already at 10am we’ve had over 300 people through the door,” Trish said.
“Jodi has done a fantastic job as a coordinator, and tomorrow (Sunday) should be just as busy!”
Jodi said when the club was formed in October 1965 there was inaugural membership of 20 enthusiastic and hard-working community members, and it had now grown to a massive 110 seniors and 35 juniors.
“Look at all the volunteers, they are out and about, wearing their green shirts and keeping busy and appreciating the new venue – we couldn’t do this without them,” Jodi said.
“Everything has been great, a big thank you to Council who have really been great in helping this proceed.”
Being one of the original clubs to form in Wide Bay and Central Coast Regions, Bundaberg Gem Club remains in the ten clubs affiliated with Queensland Gem Clubs Association Incorporated (QGCA).
The fantastic annual event gave gem enthusiasts an ideal opportunity to stock up on all the lapidary supplies, and the chance to promote lapidary to the greater community and recruit new members.
Opening Bundaberg Gemfair Mayor Jack Dempsey thanked the volunteers, who work tirelessly as the backbone of the community.
“Once again, it’s a fantastic event by Bundaberg Gem and Mineral Society, all the volunteers, the community and especially the youngster who have turned out here,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“Looking at the magnificent rocks, it’s not just about the beauty of them – they are interesting, and the kids are here learning – it proves it’s a great activity for whatever age.”
Local traders were delighted by the community turnout, with Michael Boon from Boon’s Crystals on Targo Street, saying it was bigger than he had expected.
Michael said he’d taken part in the annual Bundaberg Gemfair since becoming a member of Bundaberg Gem and Mineral Society more than a decade ago.
“It’s a fantastic event, and the volunteers have done a really good job – we are glad to be back at it,” Michael said.
“I’ve been a member of the gem club for 13, and I really couldn’t believe how many people have turned up for this event, so quickly.
“The doors opened at 9am and it’s just been nonstop. It’s really good to see the community out and about.”
The 27th annual Bundaberg Gemfair will run again Sunday, 7 November from 9am to 3pm in the Main Pavilion at the Bundaberg Recreation Precinct.
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