Teddy bears and dolls

The 22nd annual Teddy Bear and Doll Show will offer vendors and collectors a chance to display, buy and sell new and used stuffed bears, dolls and accessories-and to hear some unique stories.

“Without a story these are just items,” said Ken Yenke, an expert on antique toys and bears, author and owner of a small antique teddy museum in Chelsea, Mich. “It’s the history and memories behind them that make them special.”

Yenke and his wife have attended all but the first Teddy Bear and Doll Show and will be there again this year.

The show will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Lafayette Hotel in Marietta. The cost is $3 for adults and $2 for children and includes an entry to win a grand door prize.

“Generally we have over 300 people for the event depending on the weather and we are expecting a similar turnout this year,” said Anna Vukovic, event coordinator. “My phone has been ringing constantly with people interested in setting up a table at the show.”

With the steady interest of vendors and collectors, those who attend the event are given a rare opportunity to have fun and take advantage of expert advice.

“People don’t simply just come and leave like when you shop in a store,” said Vukovic. “We have people that stay for hours just talking and sharing stories with each other.”

That interaction is as much a part of the show as the displays, said Yenke.

“I enjoy interacting with a community that is dedicated and comes each year,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to see several of the regular attendants grow into adults over the course of my 20 years attending.”

Several of the most unique pieces of his collection were discovered during the Marietta show, he said.

Yenke was able to acquire a set of extremely rare and valuable bears named “Teddy G” and “Teddy B” that were used in children’s books in the early 1900’s.

“This is the only set of these two bears I’ve seen,” he said.

Beyond the teddy bears at the show, the admission price pays for more of the stuffed animals.

All proceeds go to the Marietta Area Teddy Bear Fund, said Vukovic, director of volunteer services for the Marietta Memorial Health System.

“The fund was originally created to provide children 6 months to 12 years of age who have been hospitalized with bears,” she said. “We have adapted that policy over the years and generally hand out several thousand bears a year to both children and adults who are treated.”