Chicago Toy Soldier Show (CTSS) promoters Jan and Roger Garfield were committed to having the Show on 26 September 2021. Jan shared, “When we made a commitment in May 2021, the pandemic prognosis looked a lot better than it did three months later in September!”
In response to COVID-19 vendors and attendees weighed their decisions carefully and a large number decided to attend. Cook County, Illinois, the Village of Schaumburg, and the Hyatt Regency host venue were under a mask mandate, which everyone obeyed good-naturedly.
“The Show was generally 70-75% of what we usually experience in numbers of hotel nights, vendors, and Sunday attendance,” Roger told us.
The spirit of the Show was overwhelmingly upbeat. People were ready to return to having fun at a familiar event. The atmosphere of the 2021 Show felt almost pre-COVID again.
All pre-Show events were cancelled in 2021 due to social distancing concerns.
The Chicago Toy Soldier Show’s famous pre-Sunday room display and trading went ahead as usual. Activity was lively with some lulls in between.
“Our vendors were generally pleased with their sales. Some told us that their pre-Show sales exceeded their Sunday sales while others told us the opposite, which is usually the case.”, Roger shared.
CTSS Business Manager Gillian Garfield said, “Attendees were certainly there to buy toy soldiers. . .maybe pent up collecting?. . .maybe they saved up their 2021 toy soldier budget?”
“Everyone seemed so happy to have a Show at all and thanked us for pushing ahead this year,” Jan said.
Roger explained that while Jan and her team worked their way up the Sunday waiting line taking admissions and handing out badges, he worked along the line welcoming attendees back and telling them how much they were missed last year. “What we heard in response was:
‘And we missed you too!’ What could be better than that?”
The overseas CTSS vendors and attendees were not able to attend; they were greatly missed. Jan shared, ”Our many overseas vendors give the Chicago Toy Soldier Show its international feel. We are anxious to have our friends from around the world rejoin us next year.”
Roger’s favorite story is about the couple pictured at the head of the Sunday waiting line two hours prior to the Show opening. He thought he recognized them as being at the head of the line in previous years. When he asked them if they were usually first in line they replied,
“Yes, we usually are, including last year when we came hoping that the Show was going to take place!”
“How’s that for Show loyalty?” Roger asked.
Jan and Roger say, “Thank you to everyone who joined us this year to share our 40th anniversary. Please get ready for Chicago Toy Soldier Show 2022 on Sunday, September 25 at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg.”
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