Forty years ago, art student Xavier Roberts began experimenting with clay sculpture, “needle molding” and quilting techniques taught to him by his mother to produce a soft doll that resembled a baby. He called them “The Little People” and sold them at regional craft fairs, where he explained to buyers that he found them in a Cabbage Patch. He passed on instructions when he sold the Little People that those who “adopted” them had to be good parents.
The Little People were later sold in retail shops, each coming with a birth certificate and adoption papers. Then Roberts granted a licensing agreement to Coleco Industries of Hartford, Connecticut, in which Coleco would use the trademark “Cabbage Patch Kids.” In 1983, Coleco’s toy version of the Cabbage Patch Kids was introduced to the public.
To say these adoptive dolls took off would be a grave understatement. The Cabbage Patch Kids became the best-selling baby doll of all time, causing chaos during the holidays as parents stormed retail stores trying to buy the last one. Over the years, more than 140 million “adoptions” of Cabbage Patch Kids have been made worldwide.
If you think the Cabbage Patch Kids craze has lessen over time, here’s something to ponder. About 250,000 visitors come to Cleveland, Georgia, every year where at the BabyLand General Hospital new Cabbage Patch Kids are born. Visitors can visit the hospital for free and enjoy the store and this Saturday, Sept. 8, Original Appalachian Artworks (Roberts original company) and Wicked Cool Toys (the current licensee) are celebrating the birthday of the Cabbage Patch Kids. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., there will be free activities for children and free cupcakes and ice cream while they last. Prizes will be awarded all day and the grand prize will be a one-of-a-kind soft sculpture Little Person signed by Xavier Roberts, commemorating 40 years of delivering babies.
Want to experience the World of Cabbage Patch Kids and BabyLand General? Check out this video.
Weird, Wacky and WIld South is written by travel and food writer Chere Dastugue Coen.