NU Toy Show features variety of items
Continues today at NU?Civic Center
NEW ULM — Enthusiasts of miniature farm implements, trucks, buildings and related equipment plus other collectible items can get their fill this weekend at the 33rd annual New Ulm Toy Show at the New Ulm Civic Center, 1212 N. Franklin St.
Besides farm items, collectible items at the show include beer steins, signs including metal collector signs depicting antique muscle cars, even dolls, among other things are for sale.
“It’s something fun to do with my husband,” said Wendy Mealman of St. Peter, who began organizing the event with him several years ago.
“It’s a fun, social event,” Mealman said. “We meet a lot of good people and share stories.”
She said it seems everyone wants a model of their grandfather’s or their father’s tractor, so vendors should have a variety of models to sell.
Some exhibitors sell factory-made implements and trucks. Others sell scratch-built models, sometimes scale models of implements and vehicles they had on their own farms. Some people build toy barns, silos, elevators, bins and entire farm yards including trees and roads.
Retired Butterfield farmer Brad Zender created and organized the event for 30 years before the Mealmans took over. Zender still brings a good-sized collection of toy farm tractors and other items to the show.
“I’m a farmer at heart, even though I’m just a wanna-be farmer now,” Zender said.
Zender said he sets up for about 20 toy shows a year including the National Farm Toy Show Nov. 2-4 in Dyersville, Ia.
Alan Lantz of LaSalle said he’s been going to farm toy shows for 30 years and collects all brands of items, whatever suits him. He re-builds display cases so he can fit more items into them at his residence.
Mike Wannarka of Fairmont grew up on a farm, left it in 1988 and wishes he could move back. He recently started exhibiting at farm toy shows. His collections include many antique Hot Wheels and Matchbox vehicles. In addition, he’s got collections of Army, Navy, police and fire department vehicles.
Rod Bunkers of Medford said farm toy shows are a way for him to trim his collection that includes 5,000 Hot Wheels toy vehicles.
“It’s fun. I have a little bit of everything else too. Plus a meet a lot of nice people,” Bunkers said.
Scott Friesen of Kasota brought a large number of toy cars and trucks and created a large table exhibit including a demolition derby in the far northeast corner of the Civic Center arena.
“It’s fun to see friends at shows,” Friesen said.
Several exhibitors talked about the National Farm Toy Show at the National Farm Toy Museum in Dyersville. The show attracts dealers and collectors from across the country.
In addition, the show includes toy manufacturing industry experts available to offer advice and talk to guests one-on-one. Plus, a 50-mile tractor ride and colorful tractor parade is part of the show.
The National Farm Toy Museum features collections of farm toys, pedal tractors, dioramas (3-D representations of a place in time), and unique agricultural history exhibits.