This Saturday, January 19, 2013, marks the end of a chapter in Texas convention history. After 20 years Eckman’s Card, Comic and Toy Show will be presenting their final incarnation at the Live Oak Center just outside of San Antonio, TX. While this, thankfully, does not mark the demise of the show itself, it does bring an end to something of a tradition in Texas. A tradition I knew precious little about until last October. NOTE: The Eckman's website has extensive information on the new venue in New Braunfels but this weekend's show is in Live Oak!
As a convention dealer off and on for easily 30 years I had head the name Eckman’s mentioned more than once by colleagues. All too often I was told that I really needed to get on the waiting list for this show as it consistently brought in the crowds. So much so that it was said that you could expect to be on the waiting list for tables for as much as a year! Few if any are the collectibles shows that can boast that level of dealer loyalty. But unfortunately I was never personally able to sell at one of these shows and had only attended the penultimate one just about three months back. And what I saw was as impressive and spoke of the show’s history and importance as a local venue for collectors.
Dale Eckman, the show’s founder and namesake, was very much in presence throughout the day. In him I saw something of myself when I produced my own Comic, Toy, and Collectibles Swap Meets some years back. Here was the heart of the convention zipping here and there, trading jokes and greetings with the vendors, engaging those attending, and generally having the time of his life. He appeared to be a man very much in his element. And he was adding to the fun by personally leading a procession of costume contest (it was near Halloween after all) hopefuls around the entire center in view of all. When a convention is simply a venue for buyers, the addition of anything that makes it an event helps make it more than an opportunity to spend money (on admission) for the purpose of spending more money.
The event itself was a collector’s dream. The massive space was packed with tables that served as the temporary home for sellers of comic books, statues, toys, books, and collectibles from every decade. From the latest Hot Wheels Batman vehicles to vintage tin lunchboxes (including the Planet of the Apes lunchbox that was popularized in the 70s on Welcome Back Kotter), there really was something for everyone on hand. I personally scored a Star Trek: The Motion Picture Arcturian action figure (c. 1978) for a mere $7.50! And that was just one of my many purchases on that autumn Saturday. But for every new addition to my collection I had to pass on two or three other offerings at various tables as my budget is not unlimited.
And now I find myself looking forward to a return trip to Eckman’s to attend and cover their final show in Live Oak, Texas. The city has sold the facility and necessitated the relocation of future such shows to San Marcos. For this final fling, Eckman’s is offering free admission but are asking for a $1.00 donation to The Wounded Warriors Project. If you are looking for a great venue to fill in blanks in your collection, you really owe it to yourself to make the trip to Eckman’s Toy and Collectibles Show! And if you should happen to miss this one, you can plan ahead for their first show at their new home, the New Braunfels Convention Center (New Braunfels, TX) on Saturday, 2013.
Saturday, January 18, 2013
9 AM – 4 PM
8101 Pat Booker Road
Live Oak, TX 78233
Admission: $1.00 donation to The Wounded Warriors Project
Look for me, Cole “JediCole” Houston out on the show floor shopping, photographing, and interviewing while also shamelessly plugging this site and The JediCole Universe. Be sure and say hello if you happen to catch up with me. I always like hearing from anyone who has seen my websites and enjoyed my writing and podcasting efforts.
Now Get Out There and Collect!