As we celebrate our 35th year of sponsoring Toy Soldier Shows, looking back it doesn’t seem that long ago when the only resemblance to Toy Soldier Shows held today were the events conducted by various Model Soldier Societies. Emphasis on those events was the judging of finely detailed Model Soldiers, not the sales, conversations or sharing of Toy Soldiers, yet the majority of vendors/exhibitors at their events were toy soldier enthusiasts.
A Little History…
Our first East Coast Toy Soldier Show was held on Sunday, November 13, 1983, in Schuetzen Park, North Bergen, NJ. The hall was dark, cramped and smelled like an old German Beer Garden, but somehow the vendors who reserved 120 tables for our first show, loved it. And so did collectors. Incredibly over 900 collectors squeezed into the narrow aisles and made our first show an overwhelming success.
For subsequent shows, we reserved Schuetzen Park’s Main Ballroom, The Crystal Room, and the large ballroom across from the Main Ballroom, for a total of three large rooms and we still couldn’t accommodate all the vendors/exhibitors who wanted to participate in the show.
That’s when we moved the show to our current location at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Rothman Center, in Hackensack. Being over 40,000 sq. ft. all on one level, with easy access to NYC and major highways, has made the Rothman Center a great place for all our shows.
We began at FDU with close to 300 vendor tables and reached a peak in the mid 1990s of 360 tables, then I believe the advent of the Internet with the novelty and ease of buying and selling toy soldiers on-line, and our bad economy slowed things down for a while.
Collectors eventually realized that the Internet for buying figures really wasn’t as good as going to a show. After all, there’s nothing in the world that can take the place of holding a soldier in your hand and examining it and talking to the seller face to face.
Our last few shows have seen an increase in the amount of vendors/exhibitors exhibiting as well as an increase in visitors. The show has evolved, too. While it still is a Toy Soldier Show, we’ve seen an increase in Antique Toy vendors participating.
From humble beginnings, thirty years later, The Annual East Coast Toy Soldier Show & Sale has grown to be the largest and best attended Toy Soldier Show on the East Coast.
We hope to see you at the show this year. If you have any questions regarding the show, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at – firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll see you soon!