WALLA WALLA — There’s rocky road ice cream, rock candy and even a Big Rock Candy Mountain. But how about rocks that look like ice cream, candy or even, well, bacon?
Those treats and others will be on the menu this weekend as the Marcus Whitman Gem and Mineral Society stages its annual show at the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds.
One of the centerpieces of this year’s show will be The Rock Food Table, a special exhibit that is the brainchild of Bill and Lois Patillo of Robstown, Texas.
This unique collection of gems and minerals — which look just like food — has been touring the country since 1983 and has now been to 41 different show locations, said Warren Rood, show chairman.
As described by the Patillos on their website, rockfoodtable.com, "there is hardly a show where the exhibit is set up that there is not an incident to report on. We have had people try to throw away some of the items, thinking that they were left on the table by accident.
"One young man even confessed that he had, while we were away from the exhibit for a few minutes, put an item in his mouth thinking it was edible, but luckily he did not bite down on it hard and did not damage his teeth."
According to the couple, most of the rocks in the collection are in their natural state. The stones may be cut to show what the rock looks like on the inside or shaped to form the shape of the natural food and some of the pieces are dyed to resemble the food that the rock is representing.
While a few of the items have been purchased, most have been collected while on rock hunts. And, they said, "some of the items have been given to us by other rock hounds. To them, it is just a rock, but to the Food Table it is a great addition to the collection."
Along with the Rock Food Table, this show will also have on display fossils, polished rock spheres, handmade jewelry, personal collections, slabs and rough rock. There will also be silent auctions, live demonstrations, a "very lively" interactive kids section, and hourly door prizes, Rood said.
Andy Porter can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8318.
IF YOU GO
The Marcus Whitman Gem and Mineral Society annual show will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds Community Building, 363 Orchard Ave.
Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Admission is $2 for adults with children under 12 free.