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Hobby Enthusiasts Celebrated in January

Perry Rine of Moundsville enjoys assembling models of historic vehicles to pass the time.

MARTINS FERRY – January is National Hobby Month, when people are encouraged to recognize pastimes and talk about what attracted them to one hobby or another.

Deluxe Toy & Hobby at Martins Ferry is one place that offers a wide selection for people who want to pursue hobbies. Mike Yeso, owner, said shelves are stocked with radio-control cars, train sets and models for people to build.

“A little bit of everything,” he said.

“Hobbies are a great way for people to spend their down-time. There’s a challenge to them, but it’s very relaxing. Instead of sitting in front of the TV, they can be out racing RC cars or they can be working on train layout or sitting quietly building a model. There’s a lot of great benefits for hobbies,” Yeso said, adding some hobbies have grown more popular of late.

“Right now, the hobby-grade remote-control cars. That category is just exploding. We sell rock crawlers. We have cars that can go upwards of 60 to 70 miles an hour. There’s quite a variety of high quality, but the nice thing about them is they’re not disposable, like you would find in a chain store. These are fixable. Every part, nut, bolt, screw, can be replaced.”

He said these personal touches, such as upgradable crawlers with the option to customize and switch out tires and other parts depending on needs, makes the hobby a popular one.

“We have a lot of different tires for different applications,” he said, pointing out upgraded suspension arms, hotter motors and bigger batteries, as well as winches that can be attached to the front of the vehicle to pull it up difficult spots.

“The sky’s the limit. There’s something for everybody,” he said, adding that hobbies also offer excellent family activity.

“Sometimes it’s the other way around: it’s the adults who have started, and now they’re bringing the kids into it, and vice versa. Remote control was kind of on every kid’s wish list, but now the adults are getting involved in it, and they’re making competitive courses where they’re meeting a couple times a week and competing with other people.”

“It’s a nice family type of a hobby,” he said. “We see kids start out and get their vehicles, then Dad gets a vehicle, then even moms come in and get one for themselves and they race all together. It’s fun.”

Other popular items include rockets that can be constructed and launched.

One customer, Perry Rine of Moundsville, has been an affianced of assembling and painting models of historic vehicles.

“I drive over the roads, and when I get home, on my time off, I like something quiet at home,” he said. “I kind of like trucks and the bulldozers.”

Rine said he has pursued the hobby since childhood. Now he works on a model with coffee on his mornings.

“Then I just kind of got back into it. I bought one I wanted to do really good,” he said. “I bought one, then another and started on it.

New Dimension Comics at the Ohio Valley Mall is another node of hobbyist activities, whether superhero or science fiction. Enthusiasts pick out Magic cards and duel with their respective stats, or host elaborate adventures with board games and role playing games.

William Tranum of Shadyside is one such customer, looking for interesting storylines for friends as well as comics for himself.

“I’ve been collecting for 40 years now,” he said. “I like Batman issues from the ’70s and ’80s, and Captain America of course,” he said. “I think it’s a place you can go. Takes you away from the humdrum of everyday life, and the action and adventure. It’s kind of like reading a novel except it’s short and you can finish within 20 minutes to half an hour.”

Meanwhile, Michaels, an art and supply store at the mall, is another popular site. Betty Ann Jasper, a manager, said with Valentine’s Day coming up, people have an option of crafting a personal Valentine for someone special.

“People are looking for Valentines already,” she said, adding that parents have the option of introducing their children to crafts for children. Others enjoy customizing their own daily planners for New Years.

“Planners are definitely a thing going into the start of the new year,” she said. Spring florals are another popular project.

Jasper added the store is looking for instructors in knitting and crocheting to teach classes as Michaels, in fields such as card-making and painting.

“We have what we call a make-break every Saturday,” she said, adding the events are sometimes free.

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