The Journal Gazette
Monday, June 28, 2021 1:00 am

Collector show draws 1,000

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Joe Daily flipped through plastic-covered magazines at a reception hall along Hillegas Road on Sunday, expecting he would return to his Ohio home with at least one purchase from the Fort Wayne Hobby and Collectibles Show.

He had much to choose from.

Held at Classic Cafe Catering & Event Center, 34 vendors were selling a variety of items, including Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars, model trains, baseball cards, Legos, VHS tapes, video games, comic books and figurines.

Across the hall, another room hosted the Fort Wayne Record Show. There, 28 dealers from four states – Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio – occupied almost 60 tables covered with vinyl, CDs, tapes, vintage stereo gear and concert memorabilia.

Holding the shows simultaneously lets the promoters split the advertising costs, and the events benefit from the cross traffic.

The environment was “sensory overload,” said Daily, who was browsing issues of Starlog, a former science-fiction magazine.

It was Daily's first visit to the Fort Wayne show – and the first collectibles show he's attended in a while, he said, noting it was nice to return to such events.

The pandemic forced many shows to shut down, said Rufus Hamilton, a model train dealer from Fort Wayne who got little interest from buyers.

“I don't sell much here,” Hamilton said. “You make contacts here.”

Don Grzelak of Kendallville hoped to find buyers for his inventory, which included Funko pop culture figurines. He was happy to unload some larger items – a Millennium Falcon spaceship and a Baby Sinclair from the 1990s TV show “Dinosaurs.”

“It was a good day,” Grzelak said, satisfied with the amount sold.

Todd Berndt, who co-hosts the collectibles show with Vince Paris, said tracking attendance is difficult because of multiple entries, but he estimated a turnout of at least 1,000 people, including some who traveled from hours away.

Sunday's show wasn't heavily promoted because of the coronavirus, Berndt said, but that will change as the threat of COVID-19 further recedes.

Attendance was back to normal at the record show, which saw bigger crowds when the event returned for 2021 in March, promoter Mark Kensill said. He chalked up the earlier turnout to pent-up desire caused by the pandemic.

The shows are next scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 26.

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