Hobby show to benefit Children's Miracle Network

Matthew Lane • Feb 29, 2016 at 11:41 AM

GRAY — Toy collectors, comic book readers and sports enthusiasts will all have something to be happy about next week.

The 11th annual Children’s Miracle Network Toy and Hobby Show will take place at the Appalachian Fairgrounds on March 5. Admission is $5 per person with children 12 and under admitted free. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“I’ve got a niece and nephew who were miracle babies,” explains Michael Stevens, the organizer of the event. “I used to have a baseball card shop and I’ve done card and hobby shows (over the years). I thought we could do this for charity and between the fairgrounds working with us and the dealers coming back year after year, we’ve been able to continue to do it.”

Around 30 different dealers are lined up for the show, which will feature 75 tables of toy and hobby goodness — everything from comic books, sports cards, video games, Hot Wheels cars, action figures, vintage toys, board games and other collectibles.

“I’ve got old comic books that are too new for the vintage collector and too old for current collectors,” Stevens said. “I specialize in a whole bunch of stuff nobody wants.”

One year, a dealer brought in some vintage bicycles to try to sell. Another year, antique furniture raised some eyebrows among the vendors and attendees.

“There’s always something that’s unusual, that surprises me,” Stevens said. “If it’s a toy or a hobby outside guns and knives, it’s probably going to be there.”

Depending on the weather and whatever other events are going on in the Tri-Cities that weekend, Steven said for the one-day show there should be 400 paying people walk through the doors. With kids, the number will likely be closer to 600.

To help get the word out, Stevens has been promoting the event on social media and has again enlisted the aid of Anthony Wilmoth (owner of Hero’s Headquarters) and Jeff Lukens (of B&E Collision and Auto Sales). Both businesses are in Lynn Garden.

Tables are still available and cost $25 each or three for $60. If you have something to donate for the auction or if you wish to rent a table, then call Stevens (423) 538-0202 for more details.

All proceeds will go to the Children’s Miracle Network. Last year, Stevens said, the event raised $2,500 for the charity.

“I wish I could do more and have more people we could contact and get involved,” Stevens said. “It’s difficult, but I enjoy doing it and it’s a lot of fun. I was always taught if you could do something to help, you need to help.”