Connor Honeycutt was shopping at a garage sale with his father when he spotted a Star Wars action figure that had something missing.
“I thought it was weird that (an X-Wing Fighter) didn’t have Luke, so I looked for him,” Honeycutt, 14, said.
Honeycutt said he has been collecting Star Wars action figures for about seven years. He said his collection now has dozens of the action figures.
It was one of about 100 that were displayed at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s annual collectors fair Saturday.
Beginning in 1980, the fair is one of the museum’s longest-running and most popular events, said Tiffany Ireland, museum educator and coordinator of the fair.
“This is an event that is interesting to — I honestly think — everybody,” she said.
The longevity and popularity of the fair has led local collectors to attend year after year, she said.
J.J. Lewis, a 37-year-old Gainesville resident, has been displaying her spatula collection at the fair for 20 years.
She said she started her collection after she received a spatula as a gag gift from a friend. Although Lewis said she lost count at 1,300, she said she thinks she now has close to 2,000 spatulas.
“Once you start collecting, you can’t stop,” she said.
Although this year’s fair hosted many veterans, there were some newcomers with their unique collections.
Belle Starenchak, a 37-year-old Citrus Springs resident, displayed her collection of Pikachu-themed items. She said it started 14 years ago after she won a giant stuffed Pikachu at Universal Studios. One Pikachu turned into thousands, she said.
Starenchak’s collection was a Guinness World Record in 2009 and 2010. She said she attends birthday parties in a Pikachu-themed costume, goes to conventions and has been featured on TV.
“I just don’t collect,” Starenchak said. “I actually go out and live Pokemon.”
Even though Starenchak has made a career out of her collection, many participants in the fair said they collect as a hobby.
One hobbyist is Gainesville resident, Nelson Laffey, president of the Gainesville Stamp Club, who displayed the postal stamp collection he said he inherited the collection from his father 10 years ago. He said the collection has now has grown to more than 20,000.
“I couldn’t choose a favorite,” Laffey said. “It’s like children.”
[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 1/27/2014 under the headline "Pikachu, spatula collections among displays at museum fair"]
Louis Galanos, a 68-year-old Gainesville resident, displays his collection of racing memorabilia on Saturday at the 35th annual Collectors Day at the Florida Museum of Natural History.