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Gem, Jewelry and Artifact Show is back

October 10, 2018

The Loup Valley Gem & Mineral Society’s Gem, Jewelry and Artifact Show is returning for its 41st year with the goal of recognizing a former member who passed away in 2017.

The two-day event will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday at First United Methodist Outreach Center, 3602 16th St. Admission is $2 for adults, 50 cents for students up to age 16 and free for children younger 5 and under.

Each attendee will be eligible to take home a piece petrified wood -- said to be worth hundreds of dollars -- from a raffle being held. The item was donated by the Lindstrom family in honor of the late Scott Lindstrom, former president and vice president of Loup Valley Gem & Mineral Society.

The group is a nonprofit organization promoting education in lapidary arts, geology, archaeology, fossils and artifacts.

Society President Greg Johnson said Lindstrom was best known for his petrified wood collections, adding that his basement looked like a museum.

According to information provided by the organization, one of Lindstrom’s main influences was his mother, Jessie, who accompanied him during his many rock expeditions.

The Lindstrom family will be presented with the Lifetime Member Award on Saturday to commemorate Scott’s contributions to the organization.

“It’s something that goes back in time,” Johnson said. “It’s something that humans just connect with.”

Johnson said many people have some sort of relationship with rocks, whether through a childhood hobby or having family members who are avid collectors. He said he hopes to bring back those connections during the show, in addition to sparking the interest of area youth with earth science.

With the growth of technology, Johnson said it’s important to inspire young people to appreciate history and the environment.

Johnson said the show never fails to attract the participation of collectors from Columbus and its surrounding areas. Attendees will be given the opportunity to admire a variety of display items, including arrowheads, jewelry and historical artifacts.

Group secretary Deb Gonsior has been participating in the show since 1983; the same year she joined the organization. Gonsior comes from a family of collectors and has been gathering Native American artifacts since 1976.

“It’s explaining the history of Nebraska,” Gonsior said.

Gonsior said the event attracts people from throughout the state from places like Lincoln, Omaha and Grand Island.

“It brings people into Columbus,” she said.

Johnson said there will be activities for people of all ages. He noted the spinning wheel has always been popular among youth because they have the opportunity to take home items like animal teeth, seashells and rocks. The items are donated by society members.

Each year, Johnson said the show is a great outlet to promote membership growth. He said around 12 people signed up for memberships after attending the 2017 campaign. The annual membership fee is $15 per person and $25 per couple.

In addition to the rock and gem show, people in attendance have the opportunity to donate blood through a collaboration with the American Red Cross; an event first.

Johnson said the group is sponsoring the blood drive from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the center.

Johnson said the partnership forms a win-win situation for both groups because it encourages more people to donate blood in conjunction with attending the show. People donating blood will receive free admission to the rock and gem show, he added.

Those wishing to schedule a time to donate on Saturday are encouraged to call Johnson at 402-270-0791.

“It’s a good thing to donate blood,” he said.

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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