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President’s Letter: Feb. 8, 2016 – Toy Fair and Play Fair Ready for Center Stage

It’s Toy Fair season around the world!

On Saturday morning, it will be America’s turn on the global stage as TIA unveils the 113th North American International Toy Fair at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Meanwhile, nearby at Javits North we will debut TIA's first-ever consumer show, Play Fair. More on both events shortly, but first, it's been a busy show year already.

Following an early January trip to meet with our members in Hong Kong, I attended the London Toy Fair, hosted by our wonderful colleagues at the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA). The London show continues to plays an essential role in the vitality of the U.K. market. The diversity of today's toy products was evident with tech dominating one booth and traditional play showcased in the next. Exhibitors' outlook for 2016 remained positive following growth for many in 2015, while the BTHA-honored toys of the year again represented a wide range of play patterns.

Next it was on to Nuremberg and the annual Spielwarenmesse, a gargantuan effort showcasing the international breadth and depth of the toy industry. For TIA, Nuremberg is also a wonderful opportunity to connect. We met with members, toured and strategized with our colleagues from Toy Industries of Europe (TIE), held the International Council of Toy Industries’ mid-year meeting, and our own Al Kaufman presented at the show’s first-ever Toy Safety Seminar. Everything about the Nuremberg experience lived up to my expectations, though I probably only saw 60% of the show.

But as exciting as the last few weeks have been, my eye has been on Toy Fair and our “Toy Fair Week” – February 13th through the 16th.

It’s not just because this will be my first Toy Fair as TIA president and CEO, or because the enthusiasm in our offices is so contagious.

It’s because this year, TIA will provide a truly memorable experience for everyone – trade and public alike.

Toy Fair will be one of our biggest and best-attended yet, with more than 33,000 registrants as of today! More than 1,200 exhibitors will stock the Javits Center’s walls and floors with the hottest new toys and games. I’m also thrilled to welcome the 300 first-time companies showcasing product this year. The Knowledge Network programs and after hours networking will also provide an unparalleled, in-person opportunity to learn and connect.

This year, we decided one major fair in the Javits Center just wasn’t enough. Always wanting to connect families with toys, we are thrilled to co-host the debut of Play Fair on February 13 and 14. This new public-facing show is the celebration of play and entertainment that folks have been clamoring for, and it’s our chance to engage toy users of all ages with great products and interactive experiences.  Our motto is to delight at every turn. 

The two-day Play Fair event is presented by LEGO and Nickelodeon, with many major brands participating. Popular characters and mascots will be everywhere, we’ll reveal new products, lead fun and interactive sessions (lightsaber training, anyone?) and most importantly, connect with children and families in new and powerful ways. The Genius of Play team will be on-site to represent our industry-wide education campaign promoting the developmental benefits of play. Please remember that although Play Fair will be co-located at the Javits Center North, it is a completely separate event from Toy Fair and has separate ticketing.

I look forward to seeing our members generating business, connecting and learning at Toy Fair while the public creates lasting memories at Play Fair.

Steve Pasierb



TIA President and CEO Steve Pasierb provides a round-up of his overseas trips related to all things toys, and discusses his excitement and expectations for the Saturday opening of Toy Fair and Play Fair.

Publication date

February 8, 2016


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