Geode Family Fest set to bring tourism to Lee County

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 5:49 PM CDT
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KEOKUK (WGEM) - An annual Lee County festival is set to attract people from all over the country this weekend.

Doug DeRosear has been hunting and collecting geodes for more than 65 years.

“You never know what’s going to be inside of a geode, that’s the wonderful thing,” said DeRosear.

He’s just getting back from a geode hunt in Colarado and is gearing up for the 2022 Geode Family Fest.

DeRosear said he enjoys traveling to hunt, but likes taking advantage of an event so close to home.

He said he’s made out of state friends in his years spent geode hunting and Keokuk’s gems are well known in the rock hunting community.

“It’s very well known throughout the world for their Geode’s,” said DeRosear.

Kirk Brandenberger, an event organizer and the director of tourism for Keokuk, said tourists come from as far as Alaska and California to collect Geodes like these, bringing in more tourism into the economy of Lee County.

“We expect around 1,000 people and we expect an economic impact of around $400,000,” said Brandenberger.

Brandenberger said since the festival began 18 years ago, Lee County hotels are typically filled around this time due to the traffic the Geode Fest brings.

“Gas stations will be, the restaurants will be busy because all the folks that come to Geode fest come from away from here so they have to stay in hotels, they have to eat in our restaurants, they have to buy our gas,” said Brandenberger. “It’s a good economic impact on the city.”

You can still register for the Geode Family Fest if you’re interested.

Tomorrow, there will be an orientation at 7 p.m. for first time hunters at First Christian Church in Keokuk, where the festival takes place.

You can register when that meeting ends from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Learn more about the 2022 Geode Family fest here.

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