UPDATE: The North Georgia Doll Show and Sale scheduled for March 21 has been postponed. The Colonnade in Ringgold is closed March 16-30 due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.
When Jane Heavener wants to break the ice with a new group, she brings along a specific doll. The doll is glass and has four baby dolls sewn to it.
She said it reminds her of herself, an avid collector; and when she brought it to share with her new club of fellow enthusiasts, they loved it.
"It's just a little group of doll lovers that want to share with other doll lovers," Heavener said of her group.
This new group, the North Georgia Doll Collectors Club, is hosting its first show and vendor event, the North Georgia Doll Show and Sale, on Saturday, March 21, at The Colonnade in Ringgold from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Over 50 vendors from across the Southeast will bring a varied selection including hard to find dolls, Heavener said. There will be all types of dolls — ranging from antique collectibles such as Shirley Temple and Patsy to modern such as Barbie and G.I. Joe — as well as doll furniture and doll clothing for sale.
Heavener said she's most looking forward to hopefully expanding her collection of Shirley Temple dolls and antique cloth dolls.
Like many girls growing up, Heavener played with dolls, but didn't do it seriously until about 12 years ago when she acquired her first Shirley.
"Little girls now play with electronics that I don't even know," she said with a laugh. "I love dolls with value; they're not just playthings."
She points to one of her favorite dolls, a Martha Chase creation from the early 1900s that was used to teach people how to care for babies and nurses how to properly inject shots on a baby.
But the doll show isn't just an event to share the love of dolls with others, Heavener said, it's also to give back to her local community. A portion of the proceeds will go to The Salvation Army.
Heavener, who grew up in East Ridge, Tennessee, said there were times The Salvation Army came out to help her family when their home flooded, whether it was bringing by sandwiches or through prayer.
"I don't think I've ever been to a [doll] show where something wasn't donated to charity," she said. "Maybe next year it might be some other group, but today it's The Salvation Army."
It's a model that she and her husband, Dean, a fellow collector, will continue even in death.
"When we leave this Earth, [a doll vendor] will sell and donate the money to a scholarship at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga," Heavener said.
To help guests offset the cost of purchasing of dolls at the event, there will be multiple door prizes throughout the day, with drawings for Dolly Dollar dolls every hour.
Tickets are $5 at the door. Children 12 and younger are free.
Email Sabrina Bodon at email@example.com.