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60th NC Mineral and Gem Festival Coming Soon!

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Cheers to 60 Years!

2019 will mark the 60th Anniversary of the NC Mineral and Gem Festival in Spruce Pine. For sixty years, Spruce Pine has welcomed rock hounds and jewelry lovers to the NC Mineral and Gem Festival where they enjoy aisles and aisles of beautiful jewelry, gemstones, and minerals from around the country.

 

“Each year we welcome dealers to the Festival from as far away as California and as close to home as Little Switzerland,” said Patti Jensen, Director of the Festival.  “These dealers, and the thousands of visitors that come to the Festival each year, have a tremendous economic impact on our community.”

 

Spruce Pine, North Carolina has been deemed the most important mining district in the world and has celebrated nature’s resources in this mountain area for decades.  “The world would come to a slow crawl without the rich minerals from the Spruce Pine area,” said Patti Jensen with the Mitchell County Chamber. “Spruce Pine provides over 90% of the world’s purest quartz for the production of computer chips among many other uses.  And did you know that the “sand” at the Master’s in Augusta is trucked in from Spruce Pine?”

 

The 60th anniversary event will feature many new additions to the weekend. The Festival will kick off July 31st at 6 pm with a VIP event. This event is a one night only exclusive event and first look of the Festival. Guests will enjoy live music, food, drinks, a silent auction and a 60th anniversary “swag bag”. A special ribbon cutting will open the Festival on Thursday August 1st at 9:30 am with special guests from our mining community, as well as sponsors, dignitaries and more. All are invited to join in!

 

The popular mine tours will happen this year during the Festival on Thursday August 1st and Friday August 2nd. These tours are sponsored by The Quartz Corporation and visitors can visit a local working mine and dig for treasures to their hearts delight. Anything they find they can keep! The tours are a ticketed item and require reservations.  Space is limited and these tours are very popular so reserve spots early!

 

Festival go-ers can enjoy shopping, ample parking, and nearby food services. Attendees can shop for fine jewelry from the top jewelers in the country, have their own custom jewelry designed on site, as well as shop for minerals, gemstones, fossils and beads.  Local gem mining establishments offer special mine tours as well as well as special events at their business locations.

 

The week is full of activities including an outdoor gem show, the Grassy Creek Mineral and Gem Show, sponsored by the Parkway Fire Department. This event is held the entire week from Sunday-Sunday and is just a few miles down Hwy 226 from the NC Mineral and Gem Festival.

 

The 60th NC Mineral and Gem Festival will be held August 1-4, 2019 at a new location this year. Just steps away from the former location and still located in the Spruce Pine Commons Shopping Center, the new location boasts a beautiful space and will also host food vendors, a gift shop and a special exhibit from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.  The physical address of the new location is 12085 South Hwy 226, Spruce Pine, NC and is directly behind McDonald’s.  The times are Thursday-Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 12:30-5:00.  Admission is $4 with Senior Citizens admitted on Thursday for $2 and Mitchell County Residents admitted on Sunday for $2.

 

Sponsors of the Festival are the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce, The Quartz Corporation Duke-Energy, Sibelco, Springmaid Mountain, Alpine Inn, Western Sizzlin’, Eben Concepts and Wal-Mart. A special thank you to the staff at The Quartz Corporation for their incredible work to help get the facility ready for the festival.

 

 

For more information contact the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce at 765-9033 or visit www.ncgemfest.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Tourism Week Celebration May 8-12

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 Travel and tourism professionals from across the nation celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week to promote the impactful contributions their travel markets and organizations make to the U.S. economy.  National Travel and Tourism Week (May 7-13) unites communities each year to celebrate what travel means to American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being.

“Just look at the numbers. Travel supports one in nine American jobs, including nearly 200 jobs right here in Mitchell County,” said Patti Jensen, Executive Director, Mitchell County Chamber. “This week, we are celebrating what travel means to our community, and we call on everyone—from elected officials to local residents—to join us in saluting this important industry.”

The best way that Mitchell County residents can help our local small businesses during the tourism season is to be great ambassadors to our guests.  “Recent research during the development of our county marketing plan revealed that what travelers notice most about our county is not only its beauty, but its people.  So many of those surveyed responded that the friendliness of the people in Mitchell County was what made their trip to our area so enjoyable,” said Jensen.   “We encourage all Mitchell County residents to support our local tourism businesses, help travelers with directions and tell them about your favorite spot in Mitchell County whether it’s a beautiful mountain overlook , a favorite hiking trail, or your recommendation for your favorite local restaurant.”

Across Mitchell County travel employs a diverse workforce from hotel employees, to restaurant, attraction and retail workers, and supports related sectors such as construction, manufacturing and finance. “Tourism impacts not only the businesses we think about like gem mining but also small businesses like gas stations, retail stores, and even plumbers and construction workers who do work for hotels, cabins and second homes.,” said Jensen.

Some of the numbers:

  • Nearly 200 directly related jobs are supported by travel and tourism in Mitchell County.
  • Travel and tourism generates $980,000 in local tax revenue each year (2015)
  • Mitchell County has over $22 million dollars in tourism expenditures spent here each year by visitors to the area.(2015)
  • Tourism revenues save every Mitchell County resident nearly $127 on their taxes each year.

The Mitchell County Chamber will be celebrating National Tourism Week with their annual Tourism Luncheon on Wednesday, May 10th with guest speaker Mark Shore, Marketing Director for the NC Division of Tourism in addition to daily social media posts highlighting tourism in Mitchell County.

As we begin our tourism season, let’s extend our gracious hospitality to all of our visitors and make them feel welcome when they come to enjoy our beautiful area.

Spruce Pine’s Bear Den Campground Wins In Magazine’s Best of 2016

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Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine says…”With 10 states in our coverage, we know there are hole-in-the-wall restaurants, off-the-beaten path views, and treasured local events that slide under our radar. That’s why we asked you, the reader, to help us in finding the best destinations, personalities, events, outdoor businesses, and après-adventure fuel in the Blue Ridge! Here are the 87 bests from Georgia to West Virginia.”

Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine readers named Spruce Pine’s Bear Den Campground as the winner of the Best Campground Category.  That’s pretty cool given all of the campgrounds from Georgia to West Viriginia!  To catch up on the entire Best of Blue Ridge 2016 List Click Here.