Children of all ages and the young-at-heart are in for a treat this Sunday when the annual Teddy Bear and Doll Show returns to the Lafayette Hotel.
Nearly 300 people are expected to attend the show featuring new and used dolls, bears and accessories, according to organizer Anna Vukovic, who is also director of volunteer services for the Memorial Health System.
"We do get a lot of kids but also a lot of adults," she said. "Looking at these dolls and teddy bears brings back a lot of memories and brings out the child in everyone."
The show will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Proceeds from ticket and table sales benefit the Marietta Area Teddy Bear Fund, which offers stuffed animals to children - as well as adults - who have been hospitalized for some reason. The fund also helps in other areas, such as recently providing a new Wii system for children who are undergoing physical therapy.
"Wherever it is needed, we are not going to say no," said Vukovic.
If you go
What: 21st annual Teddy Bear and Doll Show.
Where: The Lafayette Hotel, 101 Front St., Marietta.
When: 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Cost: $3 for adults, $2 for school-age children; proceeds benefit the Marietta Area Teddy Bear Fund.
For information: 374-1778
To make a donation to the fund: Marietta Area Teddy Bear fund, P.O. Box 225, Marietta, OH 45750.
The Teddy Bear and Doll Show has been a regular event for the past 21 years, according to Vukovic, and was created through the Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau as a way to attract visitors to town.
One couple who make the trip each year are Ken Yenke and wife, Brenda, of Cleveland, who also own a museum in Chelsea, Michigan called the Chelsea Teddy Bear Company.
Yenke has been asked to offer his expertise for two decades now on the value of antique teddy bears and Teddy Roosevelt-related items. He has written three books on the subject and offers seminars and appraisal services throughout the year. He is the preferred appraiser for Good Bear of the World, an organization that buys bears for distribution to hospitals and toy museums.
"We make sure to save the date for Marietta, though," Yenke said. "We enjoy coming to Marietta every year. The community really supports the show and we come to see the people."
As an antique generalist, Yenke has knowledge of all antiques and will offer evaluations and appraisals for anything that is brought in. However, with this particular type of show, he said he leans to antique toys and especially teddy bears. Yenke will charge a small fee and 100 percent of the money will go back to the Marietta Area Teddy Bear Fund.
Over the years, Yenke said he has seen plenty of rare and incredible things.
"There was one lady who brought in a collection of old political items and (among them) were spun cotton teddy bears in brown and white - they were the Roosevelt bears," he said.
The bears ended up being appraised for more than $1,000 and Yenke and his wife could not pass up the offer to add them to their collection.
Teddy bears are named for the 26th president of the United States, Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt. A series of children's books published in the early 1900s featured a white bear named "Teddy G" and and brown bear named "Teddy B."
Revealing the history of items and hearing stories from others is what keeps Yenke interested and returning to Marietta year after year.
"The main thing is we are trying to help others learn about what they have," he said. "We don't want people to accidentally give away something valuable or to be taken advantage of. If they have a gem, they should be able to pass it down to their family."