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Rock On! - Lake Superior Agate Festival

Lake Superior Agates
A few Lake Superior Agates from the collection of Karen Brzys,
Curator of the Gitche Gummee Agate Museum in Grand Marais, Michigan


Attending the Annual Rock On with Lake Superior Agates Fest
(See info on the 2016 Rock On Festival near the bottom of this page)

We noticed however that a huge number of cars arrived on the first morning of the event from people who either lived in the area or who were staying a lodges or motels in the Newberry, Michigan area. Muskallonge State Park, while on Lake Superior, is also in a quite remote area. The paved county road that goes north from Newberry to the park ends at the park. Only sand roads go east or west from there. So I was quite surprised at the number of people who commuted to the park for the event. After attending, I can see why it is so popular.

You might be interested in a blog post, pictures and a video on the Rock On Agate Festival I did for our ScenicPathways Travel Blog . . . but I'll add some more pictures and more detailed event information here.

Following a tip from fellow beach rock and agate hunter, Jeff King, we learned about this unique annual festival held the second weekend in September. About three rows of campsites at the park are set aside for vendor booths and presentation exhibits. There were also tents set up near the washroom building for exhibits and presentations. I would guess that the majority of the remainder of the campsites were occupied by people like us who wanted to attend the event. So we recommend making your campsite reservation early if you want to attend next year's show. If you can't get a campsite here try lodging near Newberry or Tahquamenon Falls campground.


The "Rock" Festival at the State Park

Rock On Fest at Muskallonge State Park

Muskallonge State Park's Campground is well-maintained, with shade trees and grass throughout the park. The park borders on two lakes, Lake Superior on the north side, and Muskallonge Lake on the south side, but the campground is on Muskallonge Lake. The park's Lake Superior agate beach is about a 1/4 mile walk from the campground.

agate hunting on Lake Superior


Agate hunters attending Jenifer Lasslet's hands-on workshop on finding Lake Superior Agates storm the beach to find their prizes!

Rock On Fest at Muskallonge State Park

 

Here's a list of Saturday's programs and presentations; most were duplicated again on Sunday.

Agate cutting and polishing


One of the most popular events were the cutting and polishing demonstrations by Terry House, Dean McNeill and their colleagues. These guys generously donated their time, expertise, and equipment to cut and polish a number of samples contributed by festival attendees.
Great job fellas. Thanks for your help.

Rock On Fest at Muskallonge State Park


Early the first morning of the Rock On Agates Festival before the crowds arrived.Agate collections on sale

 

Jo inspecting some of the agates and rocks on display and for sale.

Rock On Fest at Muskallonge State Park


Here are some that were found on Minnesota's North Shore Lake Superior beaches.

Agate collections on sale


You could buy unpolished Lake Superior Agates for as little 3 for a $1; a fact causing much embarassment to those of us who have spent hours unsuccessfully searching for agates on Lake Superior's beaches!

Jo's Lake Superior Agate findsJo, who learned a lot from presentations and displays at the Rock On Festival on how to find Lake Superior Agates on the beach, proudly shows off her "catch" on our deck back home. She has declared herself the champion agate hunter in our household.

Lake Superior Agates found on the beachIn the background of the photo on the left are some of the boxes of previously collected Lake Superior rocks that she has been inspecting and categorizing. After having read Karen Brzys latest Agate Guide Book (see review lower down the page) and learning more about agate characteristics she has discovered more than 10 more agates amongst our rock collection. This pleased me because most of these undiscovered agates were found by me!

arrow Pictures and Video from an Agate Hunting Trip to Black River Harbor near Ironwood, Michigan.

Gitchee Gumme Agate MuseumRock On Festival and Lake Superior Agate Links

red triMuskallonge State Park Website

red triGitche Gumee Agate Museum
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See more on the Museum and Rock Picking/Agate Hunting on Grand Marais, Michigan beaches.

paradise beach

red triGuide to Lake Superior Agate & Rock Picking Beaches new



Rock On Agate Festival

 

The 2016 9th Annual Rock On Agate Festival will be held held Sept 10 & 11th at Muskallonge Lake State Park. Muskallonge State Park Website.

LATE BREAKING NEWS: 2016 FESTIVAL CANCELLED
Delays and issues with major electrical upgrades at the Park required cancellation of the festival

Learn more what the Agate Festival is all about here's
Pictures & Story from the
2014 Rock On Agate Festival
.

Books on Lake Superior Agate Hunting & Rock Picking

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Understanding and Finding Agates
Lake Superior Rocks & Minerals: A Field Guide to the Lake Superior Area

Recommended by a SuperiorTrails friend & rock hound, this new guide has actual photographs of various rocks and minerals found on Lake Superior beaches. Co-author Bob Lynch is owner of Agate City Rocks and Gifts in Two Harbors Minnesota

Agate Hunting DVD
DVD: How to Find Agates

Karen Brzys. Director, Gitchee Gumee Agate & History Museum, has created this comprehensive tutorial to finding agates. Includes over 750 photographs and diagrams.

Is this an AgateIs this an Agate?: An illustrated guide to Lake Superior's beach stones Michigan

This is required handbook for rock pickers who love to comb Lake Superior beaches looking for pretty rocks and hoping to find an agate. Identifies some of the UP's best rock picking beaches.

Lake Superior Rock Pickers GuideLake Superior Rock Picker's Guide

Here is another book recommended by a Superior Trails reader and rock hound who was able to identify over 50 rocks found on the beach using this guide by Kevin Gauthier and Bruce Mueller. Also included are tips for polishing the stones and rock. Kevin and Bruce also publish a similar guide for Lake Michigan rocks.

Agate Hunting on Lake Superior BeachesAgate Hunting Made Easy: How to Really Find Lake Superior Agates

My wife Jo found this agate hunters book while traveling in the UP and thought it would help her find her first Lake Superior Agate. It is full of tips for agate hunting (and rock picking) and has some very good color photographs of a number of agate variations as well as photos of the other kinds of rocks you'll find on Lake Superior beaches.

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rock pickers guide to lake superiors north shore Rock Pickers Guide to
Lake Superior's North Shore

Sparky's guide covers what north shore beaches to comb, a bit of history on the formation of the various rocks found on beaches, and helpful information and pictures on identifying beach rocks and minerals.

Agate IdentificationAgates of Lake Superior

See more recommendations on guides and books on Lake Superior Rocks, Minerals & Agates

 

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Links for Rock Picking on Lake Superior Beachs and information on Agates and Rocks found around Lake Superior

- Minnesota's State Gem: The Lake Superior Agate

- Minnesota Rocks - Minnesota Geological Society (pdf file)

- Bob's Rock Shop - Online 'Zine for Rock Hounds

- Rock Identification Key - By Don Peck on Rockhounds.com
(I just recently found this site. The key looks real neat and am looking forward to using it on my mystery rocks)

For a nice introduction to rock tumbling, see Cheralyn Maturi's Minnesota Iron Range Website

Marie Frazier, who lives in central Minnesota, has created a number of unique jewelry items from Lake Superior Agates and other gemstones. See her Lake Superior Agate Jewelry Website here.

Continuing your Travel & Trekking
  Around Lake Superior
Superior Trails Lake Superior Circle Tour

 

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Lake Superior Circle Tour Road Map & Guide to Travel Attractions around Lake Superior.

How to recognize Lake Superior Agates and Beach Rocks.Lake Superior Agate?

See our Directory of our favorite Upper Peninsula Scenic and Recreation areas.Upper Peninsula Porcupine Mountains

Walking along Canal Park Drive Duluth's Canal Park, Shopping and Entertainment District

Understanding and Finding Agates
Our Reviews of the best guides to Lake Superior Agates and Beach Rocks




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