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The 25th jewel in Gemmies crown

Stake a Claim is always popular at Gemfest with many festival goers willing to try their luck.
Stake a Claim is always popular at Gemfest with many festival goers willing to try their luck.

IF YOU are looking for a bit of sparkle this winter, then head out to the annual four-day Gemfest Festival of Gems.

This year's event marks the 25th anniversary of the festival and promises to be bigger and better with an amazing line-up of activities, exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations, entertainment, prizes and much more.

Gemfest offers a four-day celebration from next Thursday to Sunday, August 12, filled with an exciting array of fun and entertainment for the whole family at the Anakie School of Arts Hall, the Allen King Memorial Park and throughout the Gemfields.

One of the main attractions will be the Exhibition Hall, which is set to feature the Jewels of the Outback and showcase rare and magnificent sapphires, gems, jewellery and treasures from private collections, many that can only be seen at Gemfest.

"While local sapphires are undoubtedly the gem of choice at the festival, diamonds, pearls, zircons, opals and other gemstones will also be amongst the sparkling array," event co-ordinator Denise Ryan said.

To mark the 25th anniversary, Denise said the committee had organised a magnificent fireworks display for Saturday night.

"We have improved the fireworks… they are bigger and better," she said.

Take a trip down memory lane and see how the festival has evolved as Gemfest moments from past years are put on display.

"Come along and help celebrate the 25th anniversary," Denise said.

"It's taken a lot of hard work... "The community has got behind it and helped along the way. The volunteers are important - without them it wouldn't have got here."

There will be all-day live entertainment with artists to include Kalesti Butler, Graham Rodger, professional accordionist Bob Grant and MC Neil Bidner, along with his zany, colourful characters.

There will be plenty of food and the Kids Zone will operate on Friday and Saturday with a jumping castle, a big slide and other fun activities.

"While you're here, it's the perfect opportunity to try your luck and experience gem fossicking in search of that precious stone in some of the largest sapphire fields in the world," Denise said.

"You can join in the fun and have the opportunity to win thousands of dollars of wonderful prizes."

It is easy to see why visitors travel from far and wide to share the excitement, enjoy the Gemfields and marvel at the gems on display.

It is also hard not to get caught up in the Gemfest excitement. Many families make the annual trip to the festival. For more information about this year's festival and for the full program details visit the website, gemfest.com.au.


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