By Liz Verley, Staff Writer
Russ Noble of Long Prairie attended his first Farm Toy Show in 1988. For 23 years he continued the tradition and on Feb. 11, Russ will be once again be a vendor at the show’s 24th event. in Sauk Centre.
Russ said, “People need to know the show is not just about farm toys. There are framed pictures, advertisements. old advertising thermometers, antique toys, Hot Wheels, new toys, etc. Last year there was a table full of dolls. There is something for everyone to enjoy and to buy. There are even toy parts that are for sale for those who like to restore various toys. You can usually find anything you are looking for.”
Russ’ brother, Bill, restores old toys for his own enjoyment, a hobby which has him attending the Farm Toy Show along with his brother. While he does not restore toys for others he enjoys finding and restoring them for himself.
Both Bill and Russ have been collecting toys for more than 30 years. Russ’ collection began with cast iron banks. It has grown to include a variety of toys. He said, “I really enjoy collecting the little farm implements. They are so detailed now. It is amazing.”
The brothers said, “One person who needs to be recognized in connection with the Sauk Centre Farm Toy Show for many years was Arnie Wiener. He was always there to help where he could.”
Although Wiener passed away a few years ago, Andrea Kerfeld, executive director, Sauk Centre Chamber of Commerce said, “He was one of the driving forces behind making the annual Farm Toy Show such a success. His family are still active volunteers with the show.”
Throughout the years the Noble brothers have attended many toy shows. Sometimes as vendors and sometimes just to enjoy themselves.
Russ said, “ I have attended up to five shows a year to sell in the past. Now I limit it to two. The Sauk Centre show and the one in Paynesville which will be held March 24. The one in Paynesville, which as been running for 22 years, is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and will be held at the St. Louis Catholic Church.”
Russ said, “The show in Sauk Centre often draws vendors from the five state area (North and South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota). It also draws people who are interested in toy shows from all over. Usually there are around 20 to 25 vendors.”
He said, “If a person wanted to they could attend a show every weekend.”
Both brothers agreed that Sauk Centre was their favorite. They said, “The Chamber has such good food and the people who come to the show and the other vendors are so nice and so much fun. We really enjoy the show.”
They said, “The toys are not our business, they are our hobbies.”
“This show gives people something to do in the middle of the winter. It is a great event and is well attended,” said Russ. Bill, retired from body shop work, also lives in Sauk Centre. He and his wife Snooky have three daughters.
Russ has done light mechanic work from his home since 1987. He and his wife Debbie have one son.
The show in Sauk Centre is sponsored by the Sauk Centre Chamber of Commerce.
Proceeds from the annual event is used toward the Sauk Rapids Dollars for Scholars which gives a agriculture based scholarship and other events in Sauk Centre.
Kerfeld said, “A the present time we have 19 vendors who have reserved 74 tables. We still have room for a few more although our space is limited.”
She said, “This will be the first time I will be attending the show. I am looking forward to enjoying the event.”
Vendors will set up their tables and displays Friday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 11, from 7:30 a.m. until 9 a.m.
The show opens to the public at 9 a.m. and runs until 3:30 p.m. It will be held at the Sauk Centre Public School multi-purpose room. Admission is $3. Children under 6 are admitted for free.
There will be pizza, hotdogs, cookies, chips and pop available at a reasonable price.
For more information, one may contact Kerfeld at (320) 352-5201.