Ben Daigle sometimes finds it easier to describe the sorts of things visitors to this weekend's Memphis Pop Art Festival and Designer Toy Summit won't see. "This is not run-of-the-mill comic book stuff," he says. "Oh, we'll have some of that, too. So people can check out the the familiar fare while checking out all the other stuff."
Daigle, who runs the Discordia Culture Shop in Pontotoc, Mississippi, organized the summit because he wanted to bring a vendor-operated custom toy festival to the middle of the country. "It's the only designer toy event outside of California and New York right now," he says. "These are strictly designer toys, which are limited-edition art objects, often developed and manufactured by individuals at home. Everything's done in very small runs. So there are much higher price points than typical toys, but these are also rarer objects created by artists."
The Pop Art/Designer Toy festival isn't the only culture casbah visiting the Agricenter this weekend. The SneakFest Sneaker Expo is also going down for sneakerheads and fans of urban fashion.
SneakFest is more than just an opportunity for vendors. Visitors are encouraged to bring as many pairs of sneakers "as he or she can hold" in order to buy, sell, and trade.
"It should be an event for everybody," Daigle says. "We'll have the designer toys, and they'll be bringing sneaker culture."
Memphis Pop Art Festival and Designer Toy Summit at the Agricenter March 18th, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. $10. SneakFest at the Agricenter March 18th, 1-6 p.m. $15 in advance. Sneakfest.org