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The Joys of Toys

Unique Drummer

Unique Drummer

The third annual Lamar Elks Toy Show, held this past Saturday, continues to grow in viewers and in displays. “We’ve had about double the number of displays this year, compared to the first time we did this,” explained Don McBee, the event organizer this past Saturday, January 7th.  McBee said the toy show is sponsored by Prowers County Farm Bureau and features a lot of farm-oriented toys and collectibles such as Hasbro and other name-brand toys along the lines of semi-tractors and trailers as well as brand new, still-in-the-box offerings.

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“We would have had more people, I think, if we hadn’t had this recent snow storm. We were going to have a comic book collector come in from the Alamosa area, but they got about 10 inch of snow.  Because he’s in the snow plowing business, he really couldn’t take the time to get away, but we plan to have him next year,” McBee said.  He added that comic books are always a big attraction and draw more people to displays such as this.

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McBee is a toy collector and had his own displays set up which featured a range of interests, including hand puppets which probably date back to the 1930s. You had to be old enough and look long enough to recognize Jimmy Durante who used to be an ‘A’ list performer decades ago.  The puppets were very rudimentary in design, mostly a small rubber head on top of a colored piece of cloth.  People attend with the intention of just looking for the most part, but serious collectors are also on hand, searching for a bargain or doing a swap.

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Some of the vendors were as old as some of their toys, having started their collections when they were kids themselves. The attendees were a mix of ages as well, with some parents and kids or even grandparents taking their grandchildren on a tour of the displays at the Elks Lodge.  Admission was only $2 and that entitled each person to a ticket for a drawing for one of several toys on display at the entrance.

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McBee explained that he would like to have the display set up earlier in the year, but the toy collector vendors move at their own pace, and like any other venue, there is an established schedule which they all follow, from one city to another through the calendar year. His advertising budget is limited and he tries to focus on larger areas from outside the immediate region.  “I’m sure we will have more interest with each year and may have to find a larger display building for the next time we do this, perhaps the old armory just down the highway would be a likely spot,” he offered.

By Russ Baldwin

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