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Quartz Festival, World Championship Dig, Mt. Ida
Quartz Festival, World Championship Dig, Mt. Ida
    Quartz Festival, World Championship Dig, Mt. Ida
Quartz Festival, World Championship Dig, Mt. Ida
Quartz Festival, World Championship Dig, Mt. Ida
Quartz Festival, World Championship Dig, Mt. Ida


September 12, 2003

Mount Ida to Host Quartz Festival,World Championship Dig in October

By Jim Taylor, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

MOUNT IDA -- The World's Championship Quartz Crystal Dig held at Mount Ida each October in conjunction with the annual Quartz, Quiltz and Craftz Festival continues a tradition that long predates the contest. The first mining claim for Montgomery County's crystals was filed in 1904. The continuing output from county mines can today be found in more than a dozen area rock shops.

This year's 17th annual championship dig will run Oct. 9-11 while the 20th edition of the festival will take place Oct. 10-12. Last year's dig drew 92 contestants from 24 states, while the festival drew more than 10,000 visitors. Similar attendance is expected for both events this year.

The festival will be held and the championship headquartered at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, located just off U.S. 270 east of Mount Ida. Festival hours will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 10-11, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12. Admission and parking are free. Food vendors will be on hand.

Festival highlights include a gem and mineral show with retail and wholesale sales and an arts and crafts show coordinated by the Lake Ouachita Craft Guild. The juried crafts show includes only items handcrafted by the vendors, such as paintings and glass, woodwork and needlework. Another popular festival event is a quilt show, coordinated by the Montgomery County Cooperative Extension Service, with more than 200 quilts displayed hanging full length.

A total of $1,500 in prize money will be awarded in the championship dig and the top three finishers in each of two divisions -- quartz clusters and quartz points -- will receive crystal trophies. There is an entry fee of $60 per person up to Oct. 1 and $75 each thereafter. There are no refunds after Oct. 1. Persons involved in the quartz mining business are ineligible.

Contestants keep all the crystals they mine. Specimens entered in the contest are returned upon its conclusion.

To obtain contest rules and a registration form, phone the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce at (870) 867-2723 or write P.O. Box 6, Mt. Ida AR 71957. Contest information is also available on the chamber's Web site at Entry forms downloaded from the site will be accepted. Late registration will be conducted at the fairgrounds.

Entrants meet at the dig's assay office at the fairgrounds each morning of the contest, picking one of four designated crystal mines in the Mount Ida area in which to dig that day. They may dig using only hand tools from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, turning in the crystals they wish to enter to an on-site dig master. Diggers must supply their own tools and may dig as few hours as they choose.

The dig masters take the crystals to the assay office where three judges assign dollar values to the mined clusters and points, which are then averaged. Winners are determined by the total, averaged value assigned to their finds.

For more information on the festival and dig and to inquire about other Montgomery County attractions, area restaurants and lodging, phone or write the chamber or visit its Web site.

Mount Ida is located in Montgomery County about 36 miles west of Hot Springs via U.S. 270. Located near the western end of the 40,000-acre Lake Ouachita and surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, the town is the center of a haven for outdoor activities. Canoeing and fishing on the Ouachita and Caddo rivers and visits to the campgrounds and private resorts on the nearby lake are among the area's many recreational options.



Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, (501) 682-7606

May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"




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