Dealers and collectors from several different states converged on Evansville, IN Saturday for the largest card ever held show in the region.
“Evansville Card Con” was held inside the Brooks Exhibit Hall at Old National Events Plaza in the city’s downtown area.
Over 1,500 attendees turned out for the 200-table show, which included both sports and gaming card dealers.
The show was organized by The Hobby Den, a local shop.
The first Card Con was held last summer, also inside the 36,000-square-foot, carpeted facility. That show was held the same weekend as the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago.
“We wanted to bring something on a bigger scale to Evansville that was affordable for people,” promoter David Nguyen told SC Daily. “The first one was more of a trial run to see how well we could do. We knew if we could do it that weekend and be successful that we could do it pretty much any other time we wanted to.”
Evansville is the third largest city in Indiana, located along the Ohio River where Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois meet. Larger cities within 2-4 hours driving distance include Louisville, Nashville, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Cincinnati.
The sports inventory on hand was heavy on modern singles and boxes but there were also several dealers with vintage cards and memorabilia.
Dealer tables were sold out at $40-$50 for the one-day show, which took place from 9 AM until the early evening. Admission was $1.
A concession area was available inside the hall and The Hobby Den held a raffle for autographed jerseys of Joe Montana, Christian McCaffrey and Travis Kelce.
“Overwhelmingly positive,” Nguyen said of the response from the collecting community.
The first show last year wasn’t a money maker but the marketing of the event and his shop’s presence at the front of the show had a residual effect. Nguyen’s store, located on the city’s east side, saw an uptick in business. The second show should turn a small profit, thanks to a 50% increase in vendors.
He believes the convention had a six-figure economic impact on the area.
No plans have been set for a third Card Con, but Nguyen is thinking of keeping the Super Bowl weekend date or tying the show’s future schedule in with other major sporting events.