Tuesday, November 12, 2013

From eating to dancing with shows along the way -- it's the QIA

Getting used to Quartzsite takes a bit of doing. Much depends on your interests, but oddly, some who visit have been actually heard to say, "What is there to do here, anyway?" Actually, there's a whole lot more to QZ activities than just walking the vendor tents. For many, the QIA (Quartzsite Improvement Association) is a whole new way of looking at this big-little desert town.

RocksinmyHead1 on flickr.com
Back in the 1960s, when Quartzsite was still largely "undiscovered," folks rolled into town with pickup trucks, selling rocks and gems off the back of their tail gates. It was gritty and fun, but it had its drawbacks. The QIA was formed up in 1965 to help give a venue to some of this rock dealing, and to give folks a sense of place. Today the annual QIA PowWow is considered one of the biggest rock and gem shows in the world, is in an anchor point for the Quartzsite snowbird season. But there's a lot more to the QIA than just the big rock show.

The QIA is home to weekly classes, dances, and a place to get some fairly good grub cheap. Roll in on Wednesday evening and you can stuff yourself full of pancakes and the usual trimmings that go along with them. But the cooks also offer a weekly special – the opener this year was pork roast (a big sellout), and of course, you can expect plenty of gobbler late this month. As to education, classes range from hobby type activities, to helping you learn to use your computer more proficiently, maybe even pick up a new language.

During the season, plenty of evening shows, many musically based, come riding into town. No, these aren't all second-rate 'mom and pop fiddle scrapers,' either. For the last several years groups like The New Christy Minstrels have sold-out repeatedly. And if you're feeling like sitting for a show might cause you to need to get up and exercise, there's plenty of that going on with daily exercise classes, and line dancing.

So where do you tap into this information? The QIA set up a new website this year, with plenty of informational function. Check out the website at www.qiaarizona.org.