All things geek - A jolly good (toy) show

Matthew Lane • Feb 27, 2019 at 8:30 PM

GRAY — Whether you’re a casual fan of comic books, toys and games or a hardcore collector looking for your “holy grail” or “white whale” item, you might want to pay a visit to the Tri-Cities Toy and Hobby Show next month.

The one-day event — now in its 15th year — is returning to the Appalachian Fairgrounds on March 9, offering collectors and fans a chance to browse about a hundred tables full of comics, toys, games, sports memorabilia and other pop culture collectibles.

Organizer Michael Stevens said the show is for both casual fans and serious collectors.

“People who are looking for the hard-to-find items are used to disappointment. That’s why they’ve been looking for it for years. They go in thinking they’re not going to find it, but occasionally you find something you’re looking for,” Stevens said. “And there will be a lot of oddball stuff there that dealers find or they’ve collected themselves and no longer want.”


Stevens has lined up more than 30 vendors, who will fill Building 1 with about 100 tables of collectibles. As in most years past, there is a waiting list for vendors to get into the show, which adds to the popularity of the event.

“We’ve got all the usual stuff: comic books, trading cards, action figures, Barbie dolls, vintage toys, and several people will be selling licensed purses, backpacks and decals. That’s something different we haven’t had in a while,” Stevens said. “We’ll also have hundreds of autographed baseball cards, Hot Wheels, record albums and several hundred boardgames.”

On the casual side, you’ll easily be able to find a good Spider-man comic or a Joe Montana football card. These and other bread and butter collectibles will be readily available all day during the show.


The show will take place in Building 1 at the Appalachian Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 9. Admission is $5 per person with children 12 and under admitted free.

Depending on the weather and whatever other events are going on in the Tri-Cities, Stevens said he hopes to have 500 visitors through the doors. At the fall event, roughly 400 people came out for the show.

“We’re very appreciative of the Appalachian Fairgrounds and (manager) Phil Booher for allowing us to do the show there,” Stevens said. “They’ve been taking care of us from day one and we couldn’t do this anyplace else.”


Each year all proceeds from the event go to a local charity. Last fall, the Johnson City/Washington County Animal Shelter received about $3,000. For this show, the charity is Good Samaritan Ministries of Johnson City.

Founded in 1985, Good Samaritan Ministries provides for the emergency needs of the poor, low-income, homeless, individuals and families at risk, children, veterans and elderly populations through education, mentoring and social services.

For more information, visit Tri-Cities Toy and Hobby Show on Facebook or call (423) 538-0202.