The Toy Association unveiled plans to change its long-running Toy Fair New York from a late winter to early fall time frame starting next year and set dates for a one-time marketplace in Dallas this year to meet demand.
The announcement comes after COVID-19 concerns prompted the cancellation in January of the 2022 in-person edition of Toy Fair New York, which was set for Feb. 19-22 at the Javits Center. It was only the second time the fair was cancelled in its 117-year run. The 2021 edition was also cancelled due to COVID-19.
Announced during the Toy Association’s Annual General Meeting, the move to fall is part of the next phase of the Toy Fair Reimagination Project, which was launched last year to take a fresh look at every aspect of Toy Fair, including the needs of current and potential audiences and show timing, and make changes beyond 2022.
“Timing Toy Fair New York to meet the needs of an evolved and evolving industry will ultimately better serve the business needs of our members and the buyer community as well as open new doors to licensors and entertainment studios allied with the toy industry, said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Toy Association. “[Fall is] an ideal time to make impactful holiday news and enjoy New York’s ready access to major national and international media as well as the financial community, which many exhibitors tell us are essential ingredients in Toy Fair.”
The association is now working to shift Toy Fair to late September 2023, and specific dates are being negotiated.
Meanwhile, according to Pasierb, strong demand from exhibitors and keen interest from key retail buyers to show, see and touch product this year prompted the Toy Association to hold a one-time fall marketplace this year, which is scheduled for Sept. 20-22 in Dallas.
The general meeting also included updates on the ways in which the Toy Association is evolving to meet the needs of all members in the face of pandemic-related challenges and the organization’s fight against harmful legislation in Oregon and other obstacles threatening the toy and play community’s ability to effectively and safely get toys into consumers’ hands.
Newly elected members and term renewals to the association’s Board of Directors were also revealed. Included was the election of Aaron Muderick, founder and president of Crazy Aaron’s Puttyworld, as its new chairperson.
With the end of a successful two-year term as chairperson, Skip Kodak, regional president, Americas for The LEGO Group, will become chairperson emeritus, take over the role of chair of the Board Nominating Committee and serve as a member of the chair’s Advisory Committee.
The Toy Association’s roughly 900 members drive $32.6 billion in annual sales for the U.S. market. The association’s annual Toy Fair New York is the largest toy, play and youth entertainment marketplace in the Western Hemisphere.
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