I went to the Orange County Marble Show this weekend and encourage anyone with even a remote interest in marbles to attend a marble show. It is a terrific experience even for someone who has not caught the marble collecting bug.
The obvious reasons are, of course, the marbles. Countless marbles of every type past and present, ranging from $5 bargain grab bags to seriously rare marbles that can be yours for a mere $1,000. You may even see marbles too rare to value if you happen to be in the right place at the right time.
Of course along with marbles comes the other great reason to go: marble collectors. Not only are they passionate about marbles, but also they are fun and generous, always willing to share their vast knowledge with anyone who asks. Bring along your unidentified marbles and any one of the dealers will be more than happy to ID and appraise them. If they can't ID them all, they'll probably be able to recommend someone else in the room who can.
You'll also get to meet and see the beautiful contemporary handmade marbles by some of the best glass artists in the country.
If you have children in your family (ages 5+), bring them along and you'll see just how generous marble collectors (and makers) are. It will be like trick-or-treating for the kids! Just be sure to train them beforehand to not touch any marbles without permission. For most children a pretty marble is a pretty marble, not a $175 mint Akro Popeye that has survived 75+ years without so much as a scratch.
For some great pictures of the Orange County Marble Show 2009, head over to Carl Fisher Marbles and also be sure to take a gander at Carl's amazing handmade clay marbles.