Fort Wayne Hobby and Collectibles Show continues to grow
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Everyone has their thing and sometimes it takes a lot to find it, but Todd Berndt found his calling early.
“Probably around eight or nine, my grandpa would bring me stacks of comics, to the lake from Shipshewana,” Berdnt said. “I just love the passion of comic books.”
That passion led Berndt to create the Fort Wayne Hobby and Collectibles Show. The convention brings fans and collectors together five times a year and is where you can find anything from Avengers to Zorro. When Berdnt created the show over 11 years ago, this is exactly what he envisioned.
“There was not very many shows coming to Fort Wayne,” Berdnt said. “I started to bring people that collected different types of things together so that we could all trade and network with each other.”
Now in its second decade, Brendt’s co-pilot of the show, Vince Paris, sees people swing in from all around.
“We’ve had people come from Illinois, Ohio, South Bend Elkhart,” Paris said. “I’ve seen people come from Wisconsin for our little five-hour show.”
It doesn’t take a detective to see the monster of a gathering the show has become in the last 11 years. The show made its base at the Classic Café Catering and Event center on Hillegas Road for the better part of the past decade alongside a record show. The convention eventually outgrew the café and moved to Allen County fairgrounds.
Both “Super Friends” have different ideas for why the transformation has been so amazing.
“COVID helped because people were digging stuff out of their attics and they’re like hey and started reading their stuff and they’re like I need to continue this,” Berdnt said.
“The Marvel movies made it huge,” Paris said. “We have so many vendors waiting to get in. The growth is good. Fort Wayne loves this kind of stuff there just isn’t enough of it.”
After a hulk sized number of conventions, the dynamic duo each has their own motivation for keeping the show on the shelves.
“The biggest part for me is just talking to the collectors and getting together with everybody,” Berdnt said. “I mean I see people that I only see like once or twice a year, and we sit back and tell stories and just have a good time.”
“It is meeting new people and seeing the same faces and having families,” Paris said. “When you see the kids, that’s the next generation of collectors. If they can get into it, that’d be awesome.”
If you find yourself itching to get in the on the action, don’t worry, the show will be back in a flash on Aug. 20 at the Allen County fairgrounds.
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