Attention all rock hounds and fossil fiends: the picturesque coastal town of Yachats is gearing up for its ninth Agate Festival, to be held Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 18-19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the weekend of the Martin Luther King three-day holiday. The event is free.
Known for its natural beauty year-round, Yachats has earned the moniker “gem of the Oregon coast.” Recent winter storms have revealed riches, uncovered by heavy rains and winds, making January a prime time for agate hunting. Enthusiasts around the world enjoy discovering the treasures available to them this time of year.
This year over 30 vendors from Oregon and Washington will display and sell rough specimens and finished artistic creations of minerals, gems, crystals and fossils. The show will take place at the Yachats Commons, located at Highway 101 and West Fourth Street in the heart of town. In addition, there will be speakers, demonstrations and fun things to do for all ages.
On Saturday, Jan. 18, at 11 a.m., the featured speaker will be Marli Miller, a geological sciences faculty member at the University of Oregon since 1997. She is a geologist, photographer and author of the new second edition of “Roadside Geology of Oregon.” Her work showcases the state’s splendor while also helping enthusiasts understand geologic processes at work. She will be available to sign her book at the Agate Festival.
Then, at 1:30 p.m., Dan Sawyer, a specialist in sea vegetables available on the central coast, will speak about how to find these plants, and understand their nutritional benefits.
The speaker on Sunday, Jan. 19 at 11 a.m. will be K. Myers, who has served as the Yachats Agate Festival’s “Rock Doc” for a number of years. Myers is the author of “Agates of the Oregon Coast,” a handy guide to finding agates, jaspers and other natural treasures on the Oregon Coast.
On Sunday, Jan. 19, at 1:30 p.m., Cameron Rauenhorst — also known as “Captain Clameron” because of his knowledge of clam digging in this area — will speak about the variety of treasures that can be found on local beaches. Rauenhorst has been an enthusiast of beach rock-hounding for many years. He has been a part-time Oregon Park Ranger and has given many talks for kids of all ages on what you can discover on the beach — agates and much more.
Other attractions will include demonstrations in the art of making cabochons and wire wrapping.
Once again this year the Yachats Area Presbyterian Church, also known as the “church of the agate windows,” will offer access to the sanctuary where the six large agate panels are displayed in their glory. A volunteer will be available at the church at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18, to tell their story.
The festival will be offering three separate drawings for baskets of prizes from many local merchants. This year, all proceeds from the raffle will be donated to SOLVE (Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism), an organization of volunteers who help clean up litter and marine debris from the entire Oregon coast. Since 1986, this home-grown tradition of twice-yearly beach cleanups has benefited people and wildlife alike, supporting clean seas and healthy communities. This is a family-friendly event and SOLVE invites all Oregonians to participate in the next beach cleanup weekend next March.
Since the festival began in 2012 the January event has been a big success, drawing visitors from throughout the Northwest and beyond. Merchants, restaurants and lodging providers enjoy participating in the weekend activities.
More information may be obtained by visiting the Yachats Agate Festival Facebook page, the festival’s website at www.yachatsagatefestival.com, or by contacting the Yachats Visitor Center at 800-929-0477.