Xenia’s Great Ohio Toy Show draws collectors from around the world this weekend

XENIA — The Great Ohio Toy Show, one of the biggest shows for vintage and modern toys in the country, returns to Xenia this weekend and is expected to draw thousands, organizers say.

The Great Ohio Toy Show runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and includes live entertainment spearheaded by DJ Marvel, food trucks, and 700 tables across the Greene County Fairgrounds full of vintage and modern toys.

Nearly 500 vendors from around the world have come to Xenia to buy, sell, and trade, said organizer Rob Eldridge, owner of Route 68 Toys in Xenia. If all tables were lined up next to each other, it would be nearly 20 football fields long.

“You’ve got to see it for yourself,” Eldridge said. “Most people will be like, ‘Why would I want to go to a toy show?’ But once they get to one, they’ll come to every one.”

This year’s show features more rare and prototype toys, called “test shots,” some of which were never in production, he said.

Other vendors are showing off everything from vintage board games, Pokemon cards, farm toys, dolls, comics, tabletop RPGs, action figures, RC cars, and more.

“The variety changes over the years, so you get a taste of everything: antique toys, your father or grandfather’s toys, up until modern toys,” Eldridge said. “This year, I think we have the best mix.”

Punk rocker turned toy aficionado Tesco Vee showed off a Japanese Rosko Astronaut from his collection made in the early 60s, while setting up for the Great Ohio Toy Show vendor’s day on Friday.

“They’ve built themselves up in a few short years; it’s the biggest show in the country,” Vee said. “When many shows are trending downward, it’s still on its way up.”

After starting with only 150 tables in March 2020, the show has grown dramatically. The show drew over 8,000 people last year. This year, Eldridge is expecting between 8,000 and 10,000.

Additionally, the lessons learned during the COVID years have made the Great Ohio Toy Show a better experience for everyone, Eldridge said.

“It changed the way you do events. Once they saw we did a safe show with no problems, those vendors came because we were the only show in the country, and they did well. So they stayed with us.”

For many old-time collectors, the toy show is a blast from the past.

“I’ve seen people cry,” Eldridge said. “They say, ‘My God, my granny gave this to me when I was such and such an age, and I haven’t seen that since then. And then they start thinking of their own family, the Christmases, their parents, or their children.”

Cost of admission is $5 for adults, and free for children 12 and under. The Greene County Expo Center is located at 120 Fairground Road, Xenia.

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