ELLERBE — Kids sifted through silt Saturday at the Rankin Museum of American Heritage in hopes of finding gems.
The museum typically hosts the geology dig during the summer months, offering children an educational and entertaining activity after school ends.
Gemstones often include amethyst, citrine, emeralds, sapphires and rubies.
The on-site flume used for the gem screening was built in 2016.
There are plans for another dig later in the summer, but no date had been set as of Thursday.
The Rankin Museum is also prepping for “A Giant Tribute” to honor the area’s biggest former resident — the late Andre the Giant.
The museum has teamed up with Lelands, a sports collectible company based in New Jersey, to celebrate the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” who lived just outside Ellerbe for the last decade of his life.
In addition to guest appearances by Andre’s daughter Robin and former wrestlers like his former tag-team partner Haku, The Powers of Pain (The Warlord and The Barbarian) and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase announced previously, organizers have added other names to the list, including the likes of The Berserker, Tugboat, Cowboy Bob Orton, Mark Henry and Jerry “The King” Lawler.
The event will also include several wrestling matches, with the ring set up near the museum at the intersection of Church and 2nd streets.
A portion of the proceeds will go to the museum.
The Rankin set aside space for an exhibit to pay homage to the former Richmond County resident in May of 2015. Most of the items were donated by Jackie McAuley, a friend of the late wrestler, and Chris Owens, a collector of all things Andre.
Former referee — and Andre’s traveling partner — Tim White visited the museum and Andre’s ranch in 2020. White passed away last year.
In 2021, Congressman Dan Bishop recognized the wrestler on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in honor of what would have been Andre’s 75th birthday.
In 2014, the WWE (formerly WWF) established the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, which has been held each year since — except for 2020.
A film crew came to Ellerbe in 2017 as part of an HBO documentary.