Winter storms and scouring waves are sweet music to the ears of agate hunters, who will descend on Yachats this weekend for the picturesque coastal town’s “Seventh Ever” Agate Festival.
Dubbed the “Gem of the Oregon Coast”, Yachats is internationally known for its natural beauty, including the treasures uncovered by winter storms, making January a prime time for agate hunting. Nearly 30 vendors from throughout Oregon as well as from Washington and Northern California will be set up at the Yachats Commons to display and sell rough specimens and finished artistic creations made from minerals, gems, crystals and fossils. The festival will also feature speakers, demonstrations and fun activities for all ages.
Geologist Chris Landau will kick off the presentations at 11 am on Saturday, Jan. 13, with a talk on the art of dowsing. Trained in South Africa, Landau has linked dowsing to geology for many years. He has used geology and dowsing to find water wells, as well as creating geological maps, geomagnetic maps and aerial photographs. He moved to Florence in 2015, and offers dowsing classes in places such as Cook’s Chasm and Thor’s Well.
At 1 pm on Saturday, “Beach Booty 101,” will be offered by Cameron “Clameron” Rauenhorst, so dubbed because of his knowledge of local clam digging. 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 treasures you can find on the beach — agates and much more.
On Sunday, Jan. 14, Guy DiTorrice, “The Oregon Fossil Guy,” will give a presentation at 1 pm about the treasures that can be found literally under our feet. DiTorrice, who has conducted fossil finding tours along the Central Coast and elsewhere in the state, is an engaging speaker who appeals to audiences of all ages.
In addition to the wares of vendors from across the Pacific Northwest, festival guests will be able to view a special display of fluorescent minerals, whose vibrant colors are only visible under ultraviolet light.
And once again this year, the Yachats Area Presbyterian Church will offer access to the sanctuary where six large agate windows are displayed in their glory. A volunteer will be available at the church from noon to 1 pm on Saturday, Jan. 13.
The festival will be offering three separate drawings for baskets of prizes donated by local merchants. Proceeds from the raffle will be contributed to a community fund dedicated to assisting those in need.
“Since the festival began in 2012 the January event has been a big success, drawing visitors from throughout the northwest and beyond,” said organizer Mary Crook. “Merchants, restaurants and lodging providers enjoy participating in the weekend activities.”
The Yachats Agate Festival, which is free and open to all, will run from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 13 and 14, at the Yachats Commons, 441 Hwy. 101 N.
For more information, go to the Yachats Agate Festival Facebook page, find its website at www.yachatsagatefestival.com or call the Yachats Visitor Center at 800-929-0477.