Johnny Love, also known as The Victoria Joker, pays a visit to the 2015 Ultimate Hobby & Toy Fair at Pearkes Recreation Centre. Saanich News file hoto Johnny Love, also known as The Victoria Joker, at the Ultimate Hobby & Toy Fair at Pearkes Recreation Centre in 2015. File Photo

At the 10 year mark, Victoria’s Ultimate Toy Fair ready to double in size

5,000 people will hit Toy Fair at Pearkes

In it’s 10th year, the Toy Fair has proved there is an active market for comics, collectibles and toys.

Started by Biagio and Candice Woodward, the Ultimate Hobby and Toy Fair runs twice a year and is celebrating its 20th iteration on Sunday, Oct. 15 in the field house at Pearkes Recreation Centre.

Vendor tables sold out months ago, but the phone continues to ring at the Woodwards’ storefront, Cherry Bomb Toys on Broad Street.

“It’s a packed show,” Biagio Woodward said. “We’re getting calls almost every day. If I had another venue I could fill that, we could add another 30 tables. People ask, ‘Can I just have a table in the corner?’ but we’re done adding.”

Half the vendors are local while the others come in from out of town he said, many of them off-Island.

To date the Toy Fair has run as a single-day event, but that will change. With so much demand, the Toy Fair’s spring edition will move to a two-day event.

The Woodwards started it in 2008 as a way to grow their three-year-old business, and to build a community that makes people feel comfortable shopping for themselves, for collectibles, to stick together and have fun, and it’s worked, Woodward said.

“People have been asking us to extend [Toy Fair], they want it longer,” he said. “When we first started we used half [the field house], we grew to two-thirds, then grew to take over the place.”

Along the way the Toy Fair added a charity carnival, which has morphed into a charity photo-op area with super heroes, Star Wars characters and Disney-type princesses, all raising money for B.C. Children’s Hospital. There’s also silent auction that raises money for the MS Society.

There’s also going to be a very significant booth that Woodward can’t speak of until the official announcement of an upcoming project in Victoria.

“It’s going to be very exciting, it’s one of the big pushes for this Toy Fair, a giant project announcement.”

The Ultimate Hobby and Toy Fair starts at 8 a.m. (earlybird only) with a 9 a.m. regular start until 3 p.m.

Regular entry is $5, earlybird entry is $15 at the door and only $10 if you buy your ticket at Cherry Bomb Toys on Saturday, Oct. 14.

Kids 12-and-under are free, but have to be with an adult.

reporter@saanichnews.com