"It takes you right back to when you were a kid;" vendors share their childhood at annual toy show

Brandon Paykamian • Mar 10, 2019 at 1:00 AM

When Eric Collins set up his booth of old action figures at the Appalachian Fairgrounds for the annual Toy and Hobby Show Saturday, he hoped to get rid of some old clutter — and share a piece of his childhood with others.

“When you pick up a toy like these action figures, it takes you right back to when you were a kid,” he said of his 1980s G.I. Joe action figures.

“That’s why you see so many adults shopping for this stuff because it takes them straight back to their childhood, and our childhood had good toys. It was good stuff.”

Collins was joined by dozens of other vendors who came to make some extra cash while also helping raise funds for Good Samaritan Ministries.

In the past, the event organized by Michael Stevens has raised thousands of dollars for various nonprofits and charities, including Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Coalition for Kids.

Last year, Stevens said the event raised about $3,000 for the Washington County and Johnson City Animal Shelter in the fall and Coalition for Kids in the spring.

“It’s a double-win for the dealers. They make a good amount of money for the show,” he said. “The table fees are really cheap, too, because it’s for charity.

“Most of these guys do this every week somewhere,” he continued. “Some have a flea market booth or a brick-and-mortar store, and I have friends that come out and do it twice a year to get rid of some clutter and also bring back some more clutter to take home.”

Stevens, a vendor himself, was also selling part of his extensive baseball card and comic book collection.

“My personal collection is about 150 long boxes of comics and about half a million baseball cards. This stuff, I don’t even count as mine,” he laughed.

As Stacey Rader shopped around for new additions to her toy collection, her husband Brad was selling some toys from their collection, which included Star Wars memorabilia and old Transformers.

“Toys are really a part of who I am and who she is. It feels good to collect, but it feels good to occasionally get rid of some stuff,” he said.

Though Collins set out to get rid of some clutter, he said he “definitely” planned to do some nostalgia shopping once he was free from his booth, as well.

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