Terry Kasten and his son, Paul, made their way to the National Farm Toy Show from their home in Lake Norden, S. D. It’s a father and son trip the pair has made for a least the last seven years. And while there’s plenty of toys to see at all the locations, the elder Kasten always comes over to Dyersville Commercial Club Park to check out the displays inside and outside the pavilion.
With fewer vendors, less foot traffic and unique items for sale, Kasten says the quieter vibe at Commercial Club Park suits him just fine.
“We usually are here for three days and I come to the pavilion at least two of those days,” he explained. “It’s quieter over here. I like that they have stuff inside and outside. There are a lot of good vendors here. There is stuff here you don’t see at the school or toy museum.”
For a vendor like David Hollmann, the pavilion gives him more time to sell his products. Hollmann and his wife, Haley, own Heartland Custom Farm Toys in Jacob, Ill. The couple has been displaying their toys for four years, always setting up in the pavilion.
“I like it here because there is more room to walk around. Plus, being inside it’s dry. We also get to open on Friday, so we are open before the main show. We get a lot more foot traffic on Friday because of that.”
Hollmann and his wife do 1:64 custom and scratch-built farm toys. A civil engineer by trade, Hollman described Heartland Custom Farm Toys as a hobby. “I started out doing farm displays and needed some equipment I couldn’t find, so I started building and replicating farm equipment we used,” he said. “Then other people asked me to build things for them and it kind of escalated from there.”
Hollmann said a lot of his customers are younger collectors. “They are younger and are often just getting into model displays. They want more realistic pieces for their displays.”
Hollmann and his wife stay in Dyersville during the weekend. “We like it out here. Dyersville is a neat town. I like this part of Iowa a lot. There are more smaller farms around here than what we see back home.”
For Kasten, the toy show is a chance to relax and enjoy what the show offers. “We don’t get down to this area for any other reason than the toy show. I just like farm toys,” he said. “I like seeing different things. With so many vendors, you see a lot of toys.”
Kasten said the weekend is a time to share with his son. “He always takes time off from his job. It’s our father and son weekend. I think this show is a good function for society.”