Atlanta Pop Culture Show Offers Celebs, Movie Cars, Toys and More This Weekend

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The Great Atlanta Toy Convention/JoeLanta welcome fans for two days of family fun March 15 and 16. Meet Wrestling Legends Amy "Lita" Dumas and Scott Hall and TV Psychic and Medium, Chip Coffey!

JoeLanta / The Great Atlanta Toy Convention packs in the fun for kids of all ages

Really what weʼre trying to recapture is that spirit of fun of sharing your toys with others and bonding through the mutual experience of collecting.

The Great Atlanta Toy Convention / JoeLanta, Atlantaʼs annual celebration of toys of all kinds, gears up for its 14th year in a big way. Celebs from film and TV, cars from the big and small screen, and oodles of toys make it an event to remember.

The two-day extravaganza takes place March 15 and 16 at the Marriott Century Center Hotel in Atlanta, Ga. at Clairmont and I-85. General admission is only $6 per day!

“What started out 14 years ago as a show for G.I. Joe collectors has morphed into something bigger,” said convention co-founder Buddy Finethy. “Today you can find a massive array of collectible toys, celebrity autographs straight from the source, panel discussions and so much more! And weʼre delivering it all in a family-friendly environment.”

Here are the highlights of the 2014 The Great Atlanta Toy Convention/JoeLanta:

•More than 200 dealer tables featuring new and classic toys including: G.I. Joe, Barbie, Monster High, Star Wars, Transformers and many more!

•Celebrity guests: Amy “Lita” Dumas (WWE Hall of Famer); Scott Hall (WWE Legend); Chip Coffey (A&Eʼs “Psychic Kids” and “Paranormal State”); Larry Zbyszko (Wrestling Legend); Tom Feister (Comic Book Artist); C. Martin Croker (Cartoon Network) and more! Get autographs from and pictures with the stars!

•Pop Culture Car Show starring: The General Lee, The Batmobile, The Zombie Tactical Team S.U.V. and more!

•Panels including: Behind the scenes of “The Walking Dead”; Zombie Make-Up Instruction from TV and movie make-up artist; Live Wrestling Commentary from the legends; G.I. Joeʼs 50th Anniversary and more!

•HUGE Show Diorama starring 12-inch action figure in AMAZING detail! Perfect for photos!

•The Annual Parachute Drop finds the hotel lobby raining with action figures each donning mini parachutes! Jaw Dropping!

•Action Figure and Diorama Contests allows guests to use their imaginations to win prizes!

•Family-friendly rock concert starring Radio Cult!

The centerpiece of the convention remains the dealerʼs room teeming with toys. G.I. Joe figures from the ʼ60s to today and military toys inspired by the line mingle with others. Expect a slew of other toys, too. Darth Vader will likely cross swords with King Arthur. Expect Optimus Prime to be sharing shelf space with the likes of Barbie, Batman and more.

“Anybody can get online and start buying a mass of artifacts,” said Finethy, “but who do you share that with? Which collectors do you bond with over it? Really what weʼre trying to recapture is that spirit of fun of sharing your toys with others and bonding through the mutual experience of collecting.”

The convention is brought to life by the Atlanta G.I. Joe Collectorʼs Club. Members Steve Bugg and Mike Gardner create massive, highly detailed dioramas for display at JoeLanta. The pair takes 12-inch action figures and places them in handcrafted environments.

These dioramas inspired the local Joe club to create the Cody Lane Foundation. The purpose of this non-profit entity, named after a fallen soldier and fellow Atlanta collector, is to use JoeLanta profits to create a toy museum that houses these dioramas and other toys for the public to view.

“Part of the goal is to save the art form of the diorama,” said JoeLanta co-organizer and Codyʼs father, David Lane. “After each show we take them apart and recycle the pieces for the next year. Theyʼre so spectacular that itʼs just a shame not to have anything but photographs at the end of show.”

“It doesnʼt feel like a convention with a bunch of strangers, but one with a group of friends you havenʼt met yet,” says “G.I. Joe” comic book artist and JoeLanta guest, Tom Feister. “Itʼs an instant kinship and everybody speaks the same language.

More details can be found online at: and

Images available upon request.

The Great Atlanta Toy Convention/JoeLanta. March 15-16. $6; $5 ages 12 and younger; free ages 4 and younger; $99 Commanderʼs Package includes all events March 14-16 and select convention merchandise. $25 Cadet Package includes select events. Marriott Century Center, 2000 Century Center Blvd. N.E., Atlanta. 404-325-0000,;

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