Teddy bears and dolls

Teddy bears, dolls and accessories of every description filled the Lafayette Hotel’s ballroom during Marietta’s 22nd annual Teddy Bear and Doll Show Sunday.

“It’s winter and there’s not a lot to do, so this is the perfect time for a doll show,” said collector Lisa Hall of Marietta as she sorted through a doll display with 7-year-old granddaughter Lydia Hall.

They were among several hundred people who attended Sunday’s event.

“I’ve probably collected more than 100 dolls over the last 25 years,” Lisa said. “I just look for whatever appeals to me. But Lydia has collected more than 70 Barbie Dolls.”

Lee Beaumont and Charlotte Coppage traveled from Morgantown, W.Va., to Marietta for the show.

“It’s very nice and there’s a lot of variety,” Beaumont said. “You can also find a lot of accessories like doll clothes, shoes-even furniture.”

Coppage said the event also provides an opportunity to learn more about the dolls both women collect.

“We especially like Indian dolls,” she said. “But we also always enjoy staying here at the Lafayette each year.”

Daniel Coe of Fleming brought his family into town for breakfast, but ended up at the Teddy Bear and Doll Show where his daughter, Danielle, 9, found a set of troll dolls to add to her collection.

“I’ve been collecting them for about three years now-I like the different colors of hair,” Danielle said. “And I think the doll show is pretty cool.”

Anna Vukovic, director of volunteer services for the Marietta Memorial Health System, is the event coordinator.

“We have a good turnout for this year’s show-people were waiting at the door when opened at 10 a.m.,” she said. “And by noon we already had 100 in attendance.”

Vukovic said the typical turnout is about 300 people.

“That includes many of our loyal followers as well as some new faces every year,” she said. “And we have more than 40 vendors from five different states in attendance.”

The event generally raises around $1,000 annually to benefit the Marietta Area Teddy Bear Fund. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children.

“We try to keep the admission price low so everyone can attend,” Vukovic said. “And all of the proceeds go into the teddy bear fund that allows us to provide teddy bears for children and even some adults who are hospitalized.”

She said the stuffed toys help make young patients more comfortable in an often confusing hospital setting.

“A warm, fuzzy bear is something they can understand,” Vukovic said.

Teddy bear and doll expert Ken Yenke of Strongsville, agreed.

“A study done in London, England, about three years ago showed the natural properties of wool (from which many teddy bears are made) help release endorphins in people that contribute to better sleep and relaxation,” he said.

Yenke also noted that teddy bears, originally introduced in 1905, have outsold other toys every year from 1907 through 2012.

“I was really surprised to hear that, considering all the high-technology toys we see on the market today,” Vukovic said.

Margaret Van Ness from Stockport had Yenke evaluate a Plum Peas Doll, made by the Uneeda Doll Company in 1967.

“A friend gave me this doll as a gift a few years ago, and (Yenke) placed the current value at between $25 and $50-so she really was a good friend,” Van Ness said.

She said a crack had developed in the doll’s neck, but Susan Reynolds, a doll restoration artist from Caldwell, was able to repair the defect

Reynolds, owner of Reynolds Restoration, was among the vendors at Sunday’s show. She’s been restoring bisque dolls and figurines for more than 15 years.

“I can make a new hand, a new arm-just about anything for dolls,” she said. “I repair all types and sizes of figurines, too, working freehand, without casting molds.”

Next to Reynolds’ display, George and Joy Hausmann of Bay City, Mich., offered a variety of dolls, clothing, and spare parts.

“We’ve been attending this show for about seven years now,” George said. “We sell antique dolls and dresses, and parts-some things that may be missing from a collector’s doll-even doll eyes.”

He opened a box that contained several sizes of glass doll eyes.

Joy Hausmann said the most collectible dolls currently date from the 1950s and earlier.

“I think a lot of baby boomers are renewing connections with their childhood,” she said, adding that their business, Joy Hausmann Dolls, has customers from all over the world.

“We sell into countries like Russia, Europe, Australia, and Japan,” Joy said. “And we participate in doll shows all over this country every month.”

Asunta Damron, owner of the My Favorite Things shop on Front Street in Marietta, had some of her Lloyd Middleton Dolls on exhibit during Sunday’s show.

“We make the dolls at our store, and have started a new line of ‘Faith’ dolls,” she said. “The first five dolls in the series are named Faith, Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.”

Damron said values was the idea behind the new doll line.

“There seems to be such a lack of values in our society today, so we wanted to provide something that would help,” she said. “Each doll comes with a gold cross pin and a story that teaches a different type of value.”

Teddy bears and dolls

The 22nd annual Teddy Bear and Doll Show will offer vendors and collectors a chance to display, buy and sell new and used stuffed bears, dolls and accessories-and to hear some unique stories.

“Without a story these are just items,” said Ken Yenke, an expert on antique toys and bears, author and owner of a small antique teddy museum in Chelsea, Mich. “It’s the history and memories behind them that make them special.”

Yenke and his wife have attended all but the first Teddy Bear and Doll Show and will be there again this year.

The show will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Lafayette Hotel in Marietta. The cost is $3 for adults and $2 for children and includes an entry to win a grand door prize.

“Generally we have over 300 people for the event depending on the weather and we are expecting a similar turnout this year,” said Anna Vukovic, event coordinator. “My phone has been ringing constantly with people interested in setting up a table at the show.”

With the steady interest of vendors and collectors, those who attend the event are given a rare opportunity to have fun and take advantage of expert advice.

“People don’t simply just come and leave like when you shop in a store,” said Vukovic. “We have people that stay for hours just talking and sharing stories with each other.”

That interaction is as much a part of the show as the displays, said Yenke.

“I enjoy interacting with a community that is dedicated and comes each year,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to see several of the regular attendants grow into adults over the course of my 20 years attending.”

Several of the most unique pieces of his collection were discovered during the Marietta show, he said.

Yenke was able to acquire a set of extremely rare and valuable bears named “Teddy G” and “Teddy B” that were used in children’s books in the early 1900’s.

“This is the only set of these two bears I’ve seen,” he said.

Beyond the teddy bears at the show, the admission price pays for more of the stuffed animals.

All proceeds go to the Marietta Area Teddy Bear Fund, said Vukovic, director of volunteer services for the Marietta Memorial Health System.

“The fund was originally created to provide children 6 months to 12 years of age who have been hospitalized with bears,” she said. “We have adapted that policy over the years and generally hand out several thousand bears a year to both children and adults who are treated.”