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The Honcho Round-up #30: Barry Potter Fairs – Bolton

By Alex Wiggan

Hi heroes!

Earlier today, and once again in an unofficial capacity, the Honcho-SFX blog attended the latest Barry Potter toy fair. You may recall, we previously attended a BP toy fair in February, at Birmingham’s NEC.

This time around we travelled up to Bolton, where Barry Potter Fairs had taken over the Premier Suite of the Macron Stadium – home to Bolton Wanderers FC. Although the Premier Suite doesn’t have quite the same space as a hall in the NEC, this latest BP toy fair made good use of what space was available and there were plenty of stalls set out inside (around 250 stalls give or take).

As we’ve not long come back from the fair, we thought we’d offer up our feelings about the event, including the positives and the negatives.

OK, so if you read our previous round-up on Barry Potter Fairs then you’ll already know the drill. For those who have just walked in, BP Fairs offers a whole bunch of toy sellers all under one roof, with collectables ranging in price from a few pence up to a couple of hundred quid.

So, let’s start with the positives of today’s show first.

BP Fairs Bolton promised to be “The big one in the North West” – and to be fair, it was. If you’re a toy collector, trader or someone who simply likes having a rummage through old boxes, then BP Fairs Bolton was the place to be today and gave all of the above the opportunity to indulge in their past time.

With regards to the location, this particular fair scored high again. Macron Stadium is situated opposite a car park, is 200 yards away from Horwich Parkway train station and has various amenities close by, including a Premier Inn, McDonalds and a number of shops. As mentioned above, the suite that the fair was housed in wasn’t huge, but it didn’t need to be, as there was ample room for stalls, alongside a couple of useful facilities – namely a café/food offering and toilets.

The cost of entry was £3.50 for adults – the standard price for BP Fairs – and while this didn’t give us anything apart from entry to the fair itself, it was a small price to pay for access to potentially a lot of memorabilia.

And then there’s the memorabilia itself, which was in plentiful supply from some very friendly dealers. Of course, the quality of the collectibles ranged from tat to treasure, but prices seemed very reasonable.

Take these McDonald’s Happy Meal Changeable toys (see left) which we picked up for just £3 for the set. These toys go for much more than this on eBay, but here they were bagged together and presented with a realistic price tag, not an over inflated one. There were many other bargains too – you just had to have a really good rummage to find them.

And now for the negatives, which we’ve boiled down to just one negative as it’s the only real issue we had with today’s show – but it was an important one.

When we attended the fair in Brum earlier this year, there was a real good mix of traders, selling toys and collectibles from various decades. At today’s event, the collectibles were weighted mostly towards the train and car collector. In fact, this was about 90% of what was on offer today.

We’re BIG fans of ’80s/’90s collectibles and while there were a few traders selling the likes of He-Man and Ghostbusters toys, they were few and far between. And we really mean few and far between.

Lego was in strong supply, but the vast majority of toys were aimed at one particular type of collector – Hornby/Corgi collectors. Star Wars is always popular at toy fairs, but even today Star Wars was a little thin on the ground.

It’s not really the fault of the owners of BP Fairs, as they no doubt welcome traders from all over, but when all the traders who attend these fairs specialise in the same sort of stock it does mean the fair quickly becomes less appealing. Perhaps this needs to be considered for future fairs.

All-in-all, Barry Potter Fairs Bolton was worth a visit today, but it was not as satisfying as our previous encounter with the show.

Would we go again? To the NEC, yes, without a doubt. To the Macron Stadium in Bolton? Yes, as it is local, but we’d like to see a little more variety next time around – and this is something traders could take on board too.

Until next time, take care.

Your pals at the Honcho-SFX blog.




About the author: Alex Wiggan has written blog posts for Honcho-SFX blog since October 2014. He likes writing, eating pizza and watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sometimes in that order.


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