Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff Lance Maclure looks at some of the gems available at the Rocktober Rock N’ Gem Show at Westerner Park in Red Deer Thursday. The event continues this weekend.

Rocktember Rock N’ Gem Show at Westerner Park through Sunday

Chris Robak has been enamoured by gems, minerals and fossils since he was a young kid.

“I remember my father taking me rock hunting down in Drumheller and we found a dinosaur tooth. I think that’s what first sparked my interest,” said Robak, co-owner of Silver Cove, Western Canada’s largest gem and mineral company.

Silver Cove is hosting its Rocktober Rock N’ Gem Show this week at Westerner Park in Red Deer – the event began Wednesday and continues until Sunday.

“There’s always something new (to see at the show) that some miners have found either outside of a tailings pile they’ve managed to salvage from an old mine or something they’ve managed to dig out of a river,” he said.

Education is a major part of the show, said Robak.

“We have one school group after another come through here during the week. The education aspect of it is important. A lot of people here in Alberta don’t realize just how diverse the mineral industry is. There is so much to it,” he said.

While chatting with a group of young students attending the show, Robak brought up the video game Minecraft, where the player mines gems and minerals and uses them to build. Movies and video games have always generated interest in gems, he said.

“If you look at movies and cinema, going back to the 1980s, there’s always been a rock there. It doesn’t matter what sci-fi movie you pull up, there’s always something there.

“I always find the kids connect with that. They see a rock in a movie or a video game and they go, ‘Wow this one has special powers.’ Whether it’s an infinity gauntlet or whatever, there’s always a gem there.”

It’s great to see children interested in the industry, he added.

“They’ll go home, tell their mom about it, put it on their bookshelf and remember the time they came to the rock show.”

The gem show gets “bigger and bigger” each year, said Robak.

“We have some guests that turn it into a family tradition to come out to the rock show.

“One thing that was surreal for me last year … was when we had a woman come in and she was pushing a stroller. She says to me, ‘I remember you doing rock tours when I was little.’ That just totally dated me,” he said with a laugh.

The first show started was held in Robak’s basement in Eckville. It then moved to Lacombe and eventually moved again to Red Deer’s Westerner Park about six years ago.

The event begins at 10 a.m. each day. It ends at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 5 p.m. Sunday.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


The Rocktober Rock N’ Gem Show began Wednesday and continues until Sunday at Westerner Park in Red Deer. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Just Posted

Recollections of well-known families in Red Deer

Past and present families recognized on Family Day

Assault suspect nabbed with sawed-off shotgun

Rocky Mountain House RCMP conduct investigation

New highway to B.C. proposed

The Howse Pass shortcut to British Columbia is worth taking another look… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP execute search warrant

Heavy police presence on Nash Street

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Reader’s opinion: Here’s how Premier Kenney can build a stronger Alberta

Apparently, the UPC government has decided that most seniors should pay more… Continue reading

Tournament of Hearts veteran skip Kerry Galusha curls through pain

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — If Kerry Galusha is skipping Northwest Territories at… Continue reading

Andrew Mangiapane scores first hat trick, leads Flames over Ducks 6-4

Flames 6 Ducks 4 CALGARY — Andrew Mangiapane was front and centre… Continue reading

Mielke: Small town Alberta great place to live

There is something to be said for living in small town, Alberta.… Continue reading

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was tightlipped Monday about his plan… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels end B.C. road trip with win over Prince George

Rebels 4 Cougars 2 The Red Deer Rebels finished the B.C. road… Continue reading

Bombardier to sell train unit to France’s Alstom, shedding biggest division

MONTREAL — Bombardier Inc. has reached a US$8.2-billion deal to sell its… Continue reading

Most Read