OK - this is getting to be a tough one to juggle! It seems that everything is scheduled during the AGTA GemFair Tucson - February 4th - 9th!
These are the busiest 5 days of the entire 2 week Tuscon Gem Show (TGS)! Take a few minutes to read through my posts from the last two years at this massive, citywide event.
In actuality the TGS is 40+ individual shows with the busiest being the 5 days of the AGTA show mentioned above and then culminating in the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show February 12th - 15th. As you would imagine these two shows attract very different visitors and exhibitors.
That is what makes this show so popular - jewelers can find the latest trends and mine finds for their next jewelry line, faceters can find facet grade rough of the latest natural finds as well as synthetics, mineral collectors will find row after row of museum grade specimens, students will find Seminars on topics from Pearl Grading to Selling to Trends and tools, tools, tools....but the local RV club likes this event because there are lots of shows that the average tourist can also attend!
The African Art Village has rugs, trinkets and trade beads, in fact almost all the shows along the hotel row next to the freeway are "Open To The Public"! There are shows that will entice the metaphysical folks with crystals, healing information. There are amazing Home Decor exhibits featuring conference sized tables made from trilobites and orthoceras, sink basins of solid gemstone and more.
So with so much to do - how do you plan your time? Well, the first step is to check out the TGS Guide - they have a new website this year at: http://www.jewelryshowguide.com/content/tucson_show_guide_2009.html
Already know the dates of your visit? Go through the listings and save the events that are open during your stay to the new "show planner" on the site. You will notice that several show run from the opening day (Feb. 1st) to the closing day (Feb. 15th)...but you will see that there are 5 very busy days surrounding the AGTA Show. So I try to give most of those days to that show and those surrounding the Convention Center (GJX and the Idar -Oberstein shows are my favorites in that area). Here is where the scheduling problems happen - the RioGrande show is also during this time and all the way across town...as are the major bead shows "G&LW - Holidome is clear out by the Tucson Kino Sports Complex...there is a great mineral collector event with Jim & Gail Spann out at the Westward Look Hotel!
So - now you have everything you want to see in your show planner - go to each of the show sites and check for any special seminars, workshops, or events they may be offering - these events are critical in making my decision to do one show or the other.
Haven't Booked Your Trip Yet? My first question to you is - Why not? rooms are filling and good deals will be hard to come by if you wait much longer. So for you, my suggestion would be that you do the opposite of the recommendations above...fill your show planner with the events you want to see then look for the dates that those events overlap - BOOK YOUR TRIP!
Plan ahead - have fun...and remember to plan time to eat and sleep!!!