Every fall, about a thousand people flock to California to be part of the annual Hot Wheels collectors convention.
One of the biggest toy car fans – and one of only two Canadian volunteers – at this large Hot Wheels collector show year after year is Maple Ridge’s own Rick Tippe.
He and his wife Bonnie were part of the six-day show in Garden Grove, Calif. that just wrapped up Sunday – just days ahead of their own one-day event here at home.
Tippe is such a Hot Wheels fan – bitten by the bug as a child in 1968, when Mattel first released the new toys, that as a country musician he’s written a song on the topic and travelled internationally to participate in conventions where they sell, buy, trade, and race Hot Wheels.
The duo don’t miss the twice-a-year shows in the U.S., where they help out with all aspects of the event from registration and assisting with children’s colouring contests to emceeing and coordinating the charity auction.
It was participation in these U.S. shows that spawned the idea for the Tippes to create a collector sale at home.
It’s called the Greater Vancouver Toy and Collectibles Show and held three times a year – every February, April/May, and October – in Pitt Meadows.
And the next show is coming to the Pitt Meadows Heritage Rec Hall at 12460 Harris Rd. again this Sunday, Oct. 14. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Nine years in, the local die-cast car collector said he’s amazed at how much the local event grows each time.
The first year, they had maybe a dozen vendors and at most 70 people attend. Last time out, they saw 25 to 30 vendors (with 60 tables) and about 350 buyers attend.
“Now, it’s a packed house,” he said, explaining that the shows now consume all the space available on the ground and main floors of the historic hall.
It first started out as exclusively the toy car show, but two years ago was expanded to include more collectibles, and Tippe said that’s help increase attendance from outside of the community.
He now sees attendees coming from throughout the Lower Mainland and even Vancouver Island. This weekend’s show is expected to be no different.
There is an early bird admission from 9 to 9:30 a.m. of $10, and what he calls a late-bird admission of $6 for those who enter from 9:30 to 10 a.m. and general admission from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at $4 each.
Children 12 years and younger get in free, and receive a free Hot Wheels car.
And every person entering, regardless of age, is given a chance to win other prizes in their hourly draws.