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, worked their way through the Parkersburg Art Center to shop at the many vendor booths.
“After about a year of going to different craft shows, I have learned a lot of useful things,” said Meryl Walker. Walker and her daughter de ella started making 3D printed crafts during the pandemic as a hobby, and then started selling items at shows and on Etsy as restrictions began to ease up.
“You really need to know your audience, because what sells here might not sell at a craft show as well,” she said.
While many booths were run by locals, there were more than a few stopping in just for the event.
“I am from Cincinnati, and this is my first time at this event,” said John Helt, owner of the collector’s lair.
Helt had a wide selection of cards from “Pokemon” to “Magic the Gathering” along with Lego and other collectors items.
Helt said he goes to shows professionally, but sells from Facebook and Instagram as well, where he is able to ship items worldwide.
Tony Workman, owner of Classic Plastics Toy Store previously said he was excited to get back to a full-fledged convention this year.
“It’s awesome to be able to get out at full steam again,” he said. “Having to not do it was definitely a bummer.”
The show wasn’t just teens or college students, but attracted people of all ages.
Niki Alvareasy and Alley George, two mothers and friends that craft together set up a booth with items that they hand crafted.
“We have a little of everything… keychains, shirts, signs, wine glasses, puzzles and many other items,” said Alvareasy.
While their items may have been created with items such as a Cricut, they did not resemble items people could typically find at area craft shows.
“There is nothing farmhouse about us,” said Alvareasy.
George explained that they gathered inspiration from all over, picking quotes or themes they love and then creating items from it that one would not typically find at a store or online.
Their work can be found on their Facebook page “Crafting like a mother”.
In addition to vendors selling toys, video games, comics and more, the show also hosted professional wrestling guests who signed posters and stood for photographs with fans.
Paul Ellering, was the longtime manager of the Road Warriors tag team, with whom he was inducted into the Professional Wrestling and WWE Halls of Fame, and later managed NXT’s Authors of Pain tag team from 2016 to 2018. Longtime wrestling referee Earl Hebner oversaw multiple landmark WWE events and served as the senior referee for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling for more than a decade.
Since things haven’t returned completely to pre-pandemic conditions. The show was only one day instead of two, and there were slightly fewer vendors to allow folks to space out a little more, Workman said.
While enjoying the event, people could make their way to different restaurants and be entered in a raffle for a downtown dinner for two.
Wine Down on Market Street officially opened their doors Friday night, and were able to participate in the Savor Saturday event.
“It is very exciting to finally have our doors open,” said Kate Swisher, one of the two owners.
Swisher said that Friday’s opening brought in a full house, and she was glad to continue seeing people make their way in to check them out.
“I am so happy to be a part of the growing downtown community,” she said.
Swisher reminisced on her youth, saying when she was growing up her family would come downtown to shop and eat as a treat.
“I’d love to be part of bringing that back,” she said. “I am glad 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