It’s a huge weekend in Charleston with FestivAll happening and all sorts of cool things going on…and your PopCulteer will not be here for any of it.
I will be in Wheeling (and Moundsville) for the annual Marx Toy Convention. If you’re a long-time reader of PopCult you know that I’ve been making the drive to Wheeling each year for six or seven years now. The Marx Toy Convention takes place every June at Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum, and there’s an after-hours gathering at The Marx Toy Museum, just a few miles away in Moundsville.
This year will be the last for the after-hours get-together because, sadly, The Marx Toy Museum will be closing their physical location at the end of June. This is going to be a bittersweet convention, and many Marx Toy collectors are making one last pilgrimage to visit The Marx Toy Museum and see Francis Turner’s legendary Marx Toys collection. The Marx Toy Museum will live on as a virtual museum and a series of traveling exhibits, so it will still be performing its mission to remind the world of the majesty of Louis Marx and his amazing toy company.
And this is not going to be the last Marx Toy Convention. Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum will continue to host the annual event celebrating Marx Toys every June. It’s just that this one is going be a little sad.
My main reason for going is JohnnyCon, the convention-within-a-convention devoted to my collecting passion, Johnny West and the Marx Action Figures. Marx made tons of fantastic collectible toys, like trains, playsets, boardgames, Big Wheels and more, but it’s Johnny West and friends that draw me in.
The Marx Action Figure collecting community is a big, friendly group that is very welcoming and supportive, and is now thriving because of the recent production of new items using original molds and also brand-new custom creations.
For years I’d make the drive up to Wheeling and back and just attend one day of the convention, but last year Mrs. PopCulteer and I decided to grab a hotel room and stay for both days, and it was so much fun that we decided to do it again. Add in another fun family event the day after the convention, and we’re going to wind up taking advantage of the long holiday weekend, returning Monday night.
And that means that we’ll be missing the first weekend of FestivAll. It’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make. If you’ve been reading the RFC Flashback posts in PopCult for the last few weeks you know that in previous years I provided extensive video coverage of as much of FestivAll as I could, one year posting three hours of video. In recent years, since so many other people are shooting and posting video of the various FestivAll events, I’ve felt comfortable passing the torch to a new generation. Besides, dealing with Myasthenia Gravis and re-launching an internet radio station at the same time, while bringing the video version of Radio Free Charleston back to life, gives me enough on my plate without having to worry about documenting everything happening during FestivAll. I will be around for some events later in the week, but for the first weekend, the toys won out. If you’re in town, you have no excuse to miss all the cool stuff, but if you love Marx Toys, you ought to be in Wheeling.
If you’re wondering what’s so great about The Marx Toy Company, you need to check out some of my previous posts on the subject. You can find my coverage of Marx Toy Conventions from years past HERE, HERE, and HERE. For a huge five-part photo essay on The Marx Toy Museum, go HERE, and for my article on why the museum is shutting down, click HERE. We even shot a Christmas episode of Radio Free Charleston there, which you can see HERE. For a photo essay on Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum, go HERE.As you can see, The Marx Toy Company has been a huge part of Popcult.
Just because I’m going to be away, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have fresh content here in PopCult. Ive carefully prepared a post a day for you and stored them in the fridge. When the time comes, they will be thawed out and heated up and posted right here for you. After more than a thousand consecutive days with a post in this blog, I’m not going to wimp out on you now. I may even do some updates from the road…but there are no promises.
So check back for The RFC Flashback, Sunday Evening Video and Monday Morning Art. I’m going to be up in Wheeling playing with toys.