By Kyle Kirby — This weekend, a 17-year tradition in the Valley will be carried out once more, thanks to Karen and Rich Ruozzi, proprietors of Horizon Gifts.
The Valley Gem, Mineral, and Jewelry Show will be held at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds and will feature “…22 vendors and over 100 tables of merchandise for sale,” said Mr. Ruozzi. The Ruozzis are no strangers to the trade — the family came to the valley in 1978, and have been selling handmade art, crafts, and jewelry ever since. Mrs. Ruozzi had been a teacher at Rockingham County Schools, and as she approached retirement, the couple decided they had the resources to open a gift shop. In 2016, Horizon Gifts opened its doors in Downtown Harrisonburg, offering a selection of unique rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, jewelry, art, home décor, and board games. Not just your everyday family-owned small business, Horizon has been built and shaped from the love and guidance of both the Ruozzis and the Downtown Harrisonburg community.
“Our son…added the board games and helped develop the pathway of the store. Our employees have helped to guide the direction of the shop with their knowledge and interest in the community,” said Mr. Ruozzi.
After participating successfully in the Valley Gem, Mineral, and Jewelry Show for the past three years, the Ruozzis realized the special place it holds in the Valley’s heart. When word came that the previous promoter could no longer hold the show, Horizon stepped in.
As promoters, the Ruozzis are in charge of renting the fairgrounds, organizing the vendors, selling tickets, and advertising. Of course, Horizon Gifts will benefit from the exposure to the public, but Mr. Ruozzi also stressed that, “We did not want the only gem and mineral show in the Harrisonburg area to die out. It adds something unique to the area.”
Attendees of the show will be able to see fine gems, mineral specimens, fossils, beads and jewelry. Some vendors are local, but there will be merchants from eleven different states.
“We have several long-time returning vendors such as Terri from Rock My Soul, Phil from Unique Gems and Lapidary and Beverly from Jewelry by Design plus several new exciting exhibitors,” said Mr. Ruozzi. One local vendor is an employee of Horizon Gifts, and will be selling her handmade wire-wrapped jewelry.
Another employee, who has been with Horizon for about two years, says he’s happy to be part of Horizon’s work to keep a Valley tradition alive.
“This is a first for a small family owned business, it’s entailed a lot [of] planning and coordinating. We’ve had to branch out and embrace new growth,” said Benjamin Nelson.
The team at Horizon has planned a great event for Rockingham County and the surrounding areas, and if attendance goes well, they hope to do it again next year. Said Nelson,
“I’m expecting a lot of people and a fun, lively experience for anyone looking to explore this weekend.”
Tickets will be $4 at the door and $2 in advance if you purchase them from Horizon Gifts on or before Thursday, October 24th. Come visit Horizon Gifts at 111 N. Liberty Street, by The Frame Factory.
Kyle L. Kirby is a fervent writer and committed creative. He graduated with a bachelor’s of science in Writing, Rhetoric, & Technical Communication from JMU in 2017. After a stint teaching English on the island of Mallorca, Spain, he has returned to Harrisonburg ready to jump back into its wonderful community. You can learn more about Kyle and his work at www.kyle-kirby.wixsite.com/four