PARKERSBURG – Superheroes, adventurers, warriors and their fans returned to the Parkersburg Art Center on Saturday for the 2022 Classic Plastics Toy & Comic Expo.
Crowds of people, some even in cosplay, made their way through the Parkersburg Art Center to shop at the many vendor stalls.
“After about a year of participating in different craft fairs, I learned a lot of useful things”, said Meryl Walker. Walker and her daughter started making 3D-printed crafts during the pandemic as a hobby, then began selling items at trade shows and on Etsy as restrictions began to ease.
“You really have to know your audience, because what sells here may not also sell at a craft show,” she says.
While many of the stalls were manned by locals, there were more than a few stopping in just for the event.
“I’m from Cincinnati, and this is my first time at this event,” said John Helt, owner of the collector’s den.
Helt had a wide selection of cards from “Pokemon” for “Magic the Gathering” as well as Lego and other collectibles.
Helt said he attends trade shows professionally, but also sells on Facebook and Instagram, where he is able to ship items worldwide.
Tony Workman, owner of Classic Plastics Toy Store, previously said he was excited to return to a full-fledged convention this year.
“It’s great to be able to start again at full speed” he said. “Having to not do it was definitely a bummer.”
The show was not just for teenagers or students, but attracted people of all ages.
Niki Alvareasy and Alley George, two mothers and friends who craft together, set up a booth with items they made by hand.
“We have a bit of everything…key chains, shirts, signs, wine glasses, puzzles and more,” said Alvareasy.
Although their items could have been created with items such as a Cricut, they weren’t like the items people could typically find at craft shows in the area.
“There’s nothing firm about us,” said Alvareasy.
George explained that they drew inspiration from everywhere, choosing quotes or themes they love, then creating items you wouldn’t typically find in a store or online.
Their work can be found on their Facebook page “Craft like a mother”.
In addition to vendors selling toys, video games, comics and more, the show also hosted pro wrestling guests who signed posters and posed photos with fans.
Paul Ellering, was the longtime manager of the Road Warriors tag team, with whom he was inducted into the Pro Wrestling and WWE Hall of Fame, and later managed the Authors tag team of Pain from NXT from 2016 to 2018. Longtime wrestling referee Earl Hebner oversaw several landmark WWE events and was the main referee for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling for over a decade.
Since things have not fully returned to pre-pandemic conditions. The show only lasted one day instead of two, and there were slightly fewer vendors to allow people to space out a bit more, Workman said.
While enjoying the event, people could visit different restaurants and enter a raffle for a downtown dinner for two.
Wine Down on Market Street officially opened on Friday evening and was able to take part in the Savor Saturday event.
“It’s very exciting to finally have our doors open,” said Kate Swisher, one of the two owners.
Swisher said Friday’s opening sold out and she was happy to keep seeing people come in to check them out.
“I am so happy to be part of the growing downtown community,” she says.
Swisher recalled her youth, saying that when she was growing up, her family would come downtown to shop and eat as a treat.
“I would love to be part of bringing this back,” she says. “I’m happy to have such wonderful neighboring businesses that are just as excited to bring the community together as I am.”
Madeline Scarborough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org