Retrorama: A Show with a History all its Own

Retrorama has transformed from an internet column celebrating everything vintage into Jacksonville’s predominate show for vintage collectibles. However, the genesis of the show started much earlier. Back in 1991 when Ed Tucker was traveling, he agreed to help his friend get an autograph from Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster) at a convention. Tucker went in expecting to get the autograph and be done with it. Instead, he found a place that captured his childhood; his brain could barely contain the nostalgic overload. Rather than it being a smash and grab (in and out) for the autograph, he ended up spending a significant amount of a bonus he had just received on some vintage G.I. Joes.

This experience led to Ed Tucker and his father starting a video business, then working shows selling tapes. A lot of the shows in Jacksonville around this time were what Tucker refers to as “Hit and run shows,” where an organizer would try their best to get as much money as possible out of a show and leave. The people running those conventions had no sense of community or desire to serve the community. This tarnished Jacksonville’s reputation for supporting collectibles shows, but Tucker had his mind set on creating a better experience.

From there, Tucker and his friends set up the North Florida Toys and Collectibles Association in 1993. The association was putting on shows two days a year until 1998, when eBay started becoming popular. His partner saw the writing on the wall and convinced him to get out before interest in the show waned. Most of the collectible shows that were going on around that time did in fact collapse under the weight of eBay. He was happy buying and selling toys on eBay until the company failed to support its sellers when customers tried to scam them. Which brings us to 2012, when Tucker’s friends were asking him to put on a show. He decided to give it a shot, and Retrorama was born.

Retrorama has grown from one room to a show that is bursting at the seams of the Ramada. In its first year, the show was a single room with Tucker and a few of his friends setting up some tables of merchandise. This first show helped Tucker and his friends gauge interest in the event. They advertised on craigslist and charged three dollars for admission. No one complained, and people thanked him for putting on a show like this in Jacksonville.That was in 2012, and attendance has since increased to about 800 people. This year Retrorama has created promotional cards available at a number of stores in Jacksonville and St. Augustine.

Sponsors have donated over a 1,000 dollars worth of prizes for the costume, trivia, and talent contests that will be taking place during the show. The actor, Ricou Browning, who played the monster in The Creature from the Black Lagoon, will also be a guest. Admission to the show is 12 dollars, but if you bring one of the flyers from the sponsors’ stores you’ll get two dollars off. For a full list of sponsors, check the Retrorama website. The goal is for a family to go to the show for 20 to 25 dollars. As Jacksonville’s premier collectible show it should be a fun and memorable way to spend your day.

Retrorama is Sunday August 9th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with an early bird preview at 9:00 a.m. at the Ramada Conference Center located at 3130 Hartley Road.

For more info check out http://jaxretrocon.com/

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