It has been 26 years since I last went to the winter gem shows in Tucson, but after seeing Tom Mitchell’s post on the yahoo group about the Faceters Frolic, I have been looking into the possibility of getting there again for 2018. It would be great to meet up with other USFG members and catch a couple seminars at the frolic.
When I last went to the shows. I found out that only a few vendors like New Era and John Garsow would take credit cards or checks. Most of the dealers were on a cash only basis. Has this changed with the availability of credit card readers for cell phones?
I vaguely remember that after hours of walking around the shows that my shoulder hurt from dealing with the large purse to hold the show booklets and purchases. Would a backpack be a reasonable hands free alternative that would not run up against security concerns at the shows?
How important is it to have access to a car to get around to the frolic and the shows? It looks like there are a number of shuttles that might cover most of the events.
Are there any affordable hotels that you would recommend? Or ones that you suggest should be avoided if at all possible?
Also any comments about experiences with TSA screening when returning home with bounty from the shows would be appreciated.
Hi Mary, I just started faceting, so my experience with Tucson has mostly been buying cut stones, but probably still relevant. It seems like more vendors are taking credit cards and company checks, but smaller vendors are usually cash only. I was actually surprised at how often we were able to use company checks this year.
We always carry a backpack and have never had any security issues, even at the high security shows like AGTA and GJX.
We stayed at an Airbnb this year and a variety of other hotels in the past. If you don’t have a car, you will want to find one in walking distance to a show or shuttle pickup. Many people rent out their rooms, apartments, and houses for the gem show on airbnb, and you can save quite a bit of money going that route since the hotel prices are so inflated.
We’ve never had any issues with TSA. I think they’re used to seeing it all come through there. Obviously you want to carry on as much of your bounty as possible, especially anything of high value. I recommend carrying on a small roller bag and your backpack because those rocks get heavy!