Cracking Open the Geode Festival

The annual Geode Festival took place in September this year.


Faith Nath

When broken open, geodes reveal their intricate crystals.

Faith Nath

There’s more to what meets the eye when it comes to geodes. The pretty rocks, when broken open, are revealed to contain beautifully colored crystals. They take thousands of years to form and come in different variations.  Many Iowans are unaware that geodes are the state rock. The 17th annual Geode Festival was held in Keokuk, Iowa this past September. 

People from all over the world gathered to hunt for crystal-filled rocks in rivers, sandbars, cliffs, and other various places just across the Mississippi River. Hunting sites include locations in the states of Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. The Geode Fest lasts Friday through Sunday during the last week of September. 

I’m not thinking about anything else, I’m just enjoying myself

— Alix Nath

The Geode Festival is for all ages; there are participants who are anywhere from 2 to 90 years old.  Some attendees have been participating in the festival for quite some time. For example, the Nath family trio has been attending for six years. Alix Nath said their favorite part of the festival was being able to “stand in the water and find rocks. I’m not thinking about anything else, I’m just enjoying myself,” Nath said.  

Everybody who attends the Geode Fest has a collective love of rocks. Some go for the hunt, others go for the experience, and some go for family time. It’s an experience that appeals to more avid rock enthusiast attendees each year. “I love the comradery with the three of us hunting together,” Kellie Nath said. She is passionate about finding interesting and unique rocks and geodes. 

Nath has enjoyed attending the Geode Fest over the years. She usually attends with her two children, Faith, and Alix Nath. “[We’ve] laughed together, hunted together, showed off our finds to each other, and it just makes me happy.”  K. Nath encourages anyone with an interest in rocks to come out and visit the Geode Festival at least once. “It’s something that I’ll always remember fondly.”