Hear ye, hear ye! Come one, come all to the most remarkable, astounding, stupendous exhibition of wares and artists this side of Akron. Yes, Oddmall: Emporium of the Weird— a grand convention and celebration of the unusual, geeky and quirky— will make its official Toledo debut with an event called “Hallowondrous” at the Seagate Centre on Friday and Saturday, October 15-16.
“Oddmall is half arts-and-crafts show, focusing on strange and unusual handmade items, with the other half, all kinds of games, toys, comics, collectables, pop culture stuff— anything geeky, unusual, weird, strange, odd, unique,” said Andy Hopp, founder of Oddmall. “It’s a celebration of weirdness, anything unusual.”
“It’s really snowballed”
Hopp, who has experience running conventions in his native Akron, got the idea for Oddmall in 2008 while attending an event called Bazaar Bizarre. “It was a craft show; it focused on weird art. I really liked that concept, but the venue they were hosting it in wasn’t really very family friendly— there was no place to change a kid’s diaper, or anything like that,” remembered Hopp. “So I thought it might be fun to do my own show like that.”
The first Oddmall, held in Akron in May 2009, proved so successful Hopp ran a second one later that same year. The Akron event now draws upwards of 10,000 attendees each year. Additional Oddmalls are run five or six times annually— not just in Ohio but Washington, where Hopp’s brother David runs the events, in Seattle and other cities.
“It’s really snowballed,” Hopp said. The reception has been good with the first hosting 110 vendors while subsequent shows have continued to expand.
“They have a home at Oddmall”
The Toledo event is part of an effort to introduce the brand into new markets. Hopp looked at the possibility of running in cities such as Cleveland or Pittsburgh before finally settling on the Glass City.
“I was just looking to expand outward from Akron. I wasn’t very familiar with Toledo, but this past summer we decided we wanted to do a show within a few hours of Akron.”
Currently about 140 vendors have purchased floor space at the Seagate Center (with more spots still available). The event will also feature live entertainment and discussion panels, and plans are still being solidified. A grand costume party will close out the festivities on Saturday night at 8pm at the Park Inn Hotel (101 N. Summit St.)
“I want them to feel that, whatever they’re into— as long as it’s something positive— they have a home at Oddmall,” Hopp said of Toledo attendees.
10am-6pm on Saturday | October 15| 10am-5pm on Sunday | October 16
SeaGate Convention Centre | 401 Jefferson Ave.
hallowondrous.oddmall.info | Free