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Published June 18, 2010, 12:00 AM

Toy show marks 25 years

1,000 expected to attend event in LaMoure
A Father’s Day staple in LaMoure, N.D., dating back to the mid-1970s, the North Dakota Farm Toy Show is marking its 25th birthday this weekend.

By: Dave Roepke, INFORUM

A Father’s Day staple in LaMoure, N.D., dating back to the mid-1970s, the North Dakota Farm Toy Show is marking its 25th birthday this weekend.

For longtime exhibitors like Duane Grieger who’ve seen interest in farm toys dwindle over the past quarter century, it’s a bastion for the hobbled hobby.

“It’s not quite what it used to be,” said Grieger, an 80-year-old from Buffalo, N.D., “but we still enjoy going to LaMoure. That’s the home base.”

Lori Aberle, manager of the toy show, said the show in LaMoure is actually the smallest of the shows run by Toy Farmer, the farm toy magazine founded by Cathy Scheibe and her late husband, Claire. The larger shows are in Indianapolis and Dyersville, Iowa.

But the North Dakota show is still strong enough to draw 1,000 visitors to peruse the tables of about 45 vendors, she said. Most of the exhibitors have been coming for years, and they return in part for the camaraderie.

“The people are just so grounded,” Aberle said. “They’re not fancy. You can talk to them.”

Aberle said the age of the most avid farm-toy hounds is rising. The toys seem to provide a window to their childhoods on the farm and an opportunity to tell old stories, she said.

“Their eyes twinkle when they talk about them,” she said. “A lot of them are missing hands and fingers, but by now they can talk about it.”

Grieger’s been coming to LaMoure’s show for more than 20 years, so he’s most likely heard those stories. But despite being far more of a seller than a collector these days, he makes a point to meet the younger vendors and exhibitors.

“I like to go around from table to table and visit the new people,” he said.

For the 25th anniversary, the show will be much like previous renditions. The main tables in the gym at the high school will open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

There’s a chicken barbecue at 5 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a toy auction at 6:30 p.m. at the LaMoure Civic Center.

A children’s pedal pull at 1 p.m. will be followed by an adult version, which is a new twist. It makes for lots of knees and elbows flying as adults scrunch onto the pedal tractors designed for kids, Aberle said.

“You kind of look like a pretzel,” she said.


If you go

  • What: 25th annual North Dakota Farm Toy Show

  • When: Saturday and Sunday
  • Where: LaMoure, N.D.
  • Info: $3 per day for adults. (800) 533-8293


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535

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