Thank you so very much to all the folks and businesses that helped Texas Topaz Day be wildly successful. The ranch owners, guides, and businesses that participated all reported success. Topaz was found on the ranches, and rock shops and gem dealers reported good sales. The concert at the wine bar was well attended and the restaurants, hotels, and most B&B’s were busy. Every person I asked wants to come back next year. Every participating business I asked wants to participate next year. The gem faceters, rock shops and gem dealers all want to come back next year. The members of the Texas Faceters’ Guild were beside themselves- and want to come back next year.To those that complained about the event or chose not to participate, I want to point out that we have a serious problem. There are folks in this town that don’t want any change- they want to keep everything like it’s always been. However, the weather will not allow this inaction to continue if we want to survive. Stopping change will kill this little town. We survived the worst drought in our history, but with severe consequences. Our cattle, sheep, and goat industry and our deer herd were severely impacted. Ranchers were forced to sell herds and many, many fawns died. The hunting was way off last year. This drought is predicted to continue for 10 years or so. The grass may be green right now, but the experts tell us this is temporary. If some continue to resist change, if we continue to rely only on ranching and hunting, this town will wither and die. That’s an extremely high price to pay for resisting change. Tourism gives us another source of revenue. Eco-tourism lets us use the land without being dependent on the rain. Topaz hunters fill hotels, eat at restaurants, buy gas. Those B&B’s that participate will have guests- those that don’t answer their phones or don’t advertise will not share in that success.We need to support one another to survive the drought. We need to buy from local businesses, not just automatically drive to Fredericksburg. Gems of the Hill Country bought food for our Topaz Day guests from local restaurants. We placed the band we hired in front of another local business. We need to help the tourists find what they need, be it a room at a B&B, or finding rockhounding supplies. We need more ranches to offer topaz hunting and we need a rock shop. We need to coordinate availability to find lodging, not just call someone and complain because no one found our facility.Gems of the Hill Country is committed to helping this community prosper and survive the drought. We are eager to help others succeed with the tourists that come for our topaz. People come to Mason from all over Texas to buy our gems. They regularly drive from Houston, Austin, and Dallas, specifically to buy our gems and jewelry. If the community offers more options for topaz hunting or other types of eco-tourism, the community will join in our success, and it won’t matter what the rain does. This year we added a map of available restaurants to our rockhounder’s goody bags. As we upgrade our website, we plan to add more ways for our customers to find other businesses in town. This includes an easier way for our customers to find local B&B’s. If you want on our website, please let us know. This is an invitation to play with us. Please accept our invitation and we all prosper.