I've only been here 4 days, and already the shows are are starting to blur and run together.
Yesterday, I went down the series of shows on the I-10 strip. There are 6-8 hotels/motels along a service road that parallels Interstate 10. Each motel has a different show in it, plus every room on the ground floor is booked with small vendors selling all manner of odds and ends, some of which have only the most tenuous relationship with gems or minerals.
Most of these shows are oriented towards gems, fossils and raw chunks of rough semi-precious stones, so I don't bother looking for beads here, but concentrate on checking out the cabochon dealers. Many of these cut their own stones and their prices are reasonable.
It's very easy to spend the entire day here, wandering from booth to booth to booth, from the vendors selling beaded bags from Tibet, to the "aged hippie" types selling stones guaranteed to "re-align your chakra", to tables made of stone loaded with fossil shells.
I always end up the I-10 Strip day at the Pearl Pavilion. This is what a typical vendor's booth looks like:
You have to remember this is only one vendor. There are probably 50 similar tents at this show alone.