2017 Event Triples in Size, Featuring More than 75 Exhibitors and Dozens of Activities Inspiring Holiday Purchases and New Ways to Play
NEW YORK, NY | December 4, 2017 – Play Fair, the public celebration of play and entertainment for all ages, returned to New York City on Saturday, November 4 and Sunday, November 5. Hosted by The Toy Association in partnership with LeftField Media, the immersive, experience-rich event expanded both in size and in on-site entertainment, providing more than 20,000 children, parents, families, and fans with a first look at the toys and games expected to top wishlists this holiday season.
Guests were treated to dozens of hands-on exhibits, awe-inspiring displays, meet & greets, and engaging activities featuring some of their favorite brands, as well as an expanded 230,000 square feet of space to play in at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. With more than 75 exhibitors, including presenting sponsors Spin Master and Toys“R”Us, Play Fair also welcomed several new exhibitors including family-favorite companies like Alex Brands, VTech/Leapfrog, Cartoon Network, Snazaroo, WowWee and Magformers. More than 70 percent of attendees said the event helped them discover a new toy or character for the whole family to enjoy and 85 percent said that their Play Fair experiences would factor into seasonal gift purchases.
Following the show, Play Fair and its exhibitors extended the holiday cheer by donating more than 16,000 toys valued at $26,637 to the Toy Industry Foundation, which will be delivering the magic of play to local children and families experiencing severe forms of hardship.
“The second annual Play Fair exceeded expectations, building off last year’s success to offer thousands of families the perfect opportunity to play with one another and their favorite brands in a completely new and exciting way,” says Kelly Comboni, president of LeftField Media. “The event offers a unique way for families to test out the latest products before the holiday season and enjoy the joyful pleasures of being a kid – and kid at heart! – during this festive time of year.”
“There is no better place for families to experience their most beloved playthings, brands, and characters during the holidays than at Play Fair,” says Marian Bossard, executive vice president of global market events at The Toy Association. “This year’s event successfully delivered guests even greater activities and immersive play experiences, and created the perfect backdrop to unveil the 2018 Toy of the Year finalists – the ‘best of the best’ in the world of toys and games.”
Attendees enjoyed a Toys“R”Us main stage, hosted by Greg T from the Elvis Duran Morning Show; a brand-new activity stage, showcasing STEAM programming and interactive panel sessions; and two dedicated screening rooms. Celebrity guests dazzled audiences with autograph signings, photos, and meet & greets, including appearances from Mindy Thomas, co-host of NPR’s “Wow in the World,” the Radio City Rockettes, COOL SCHOOLS’s hugely popular YouTube sensation Crafty Carol, creators of the “totally awesome” Emmy Award-winning series PEG + CAT on PBS KIDS, Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson, Buddy the Elf from ELF the Musical, WWE® Superstar Big Show® and WWE® Superstar Daniel Bryan, and YouTube stars The Engineering Family.
Larger-than-life play experiences, stage activities, and consumer challenges brought the fun to life throughout the weekend. Fans enjoyed highlights like a Minecraft VR station, giant NERF arena, augmented reality Ben 10 experience, builder demos with Magformers, ALEX® SPA experience, giant LEGO brick piles and race ramps, live product unboxings, Jedi Training with the Empire Saber Guild, and a Shopkins fashion show. On Saturday, attendees even became a part of toy history when 12-year-old slime glue entrepreneur Madison Greenspan of Maddie Rae’s Slime Glue successfully achieved a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for making the world’s largest slime – over six tons!
Industry members and media were able to join in on the fun and games on Friday, November 3 at Play Fair’s first Media & Industry Preview Night, which granted press and industry professionals advance access to exhibitors, entertainment, and play experiences to see firsthand which toys, games, and entertainment would be the biggest hits during shopping holidays like Black Friday.
During the Media & Industry Preview Night, The Toy Association also unveiled the finalists for the 2018 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards. Known as the “Oscars” of the toy industry, the TOTY awards program supports children in need by serving as a critical fundraising event for the Toy Industry Foundation, while recognizing the top toys of this holiday season. Until January 5, consumers can visit ToyAwards.org to vote for their favorite picks in each of the 17 categories – including new categories for this year like Creative Toy of the Year, Playset of the Year, and Plush of the Year.
The inaugural Play Fair was held in February 2016 to a sold-out crowd of more than 20,000 parents, children, and toy enthusiasts. More information about this year’s Play Fair can be found at www.PlayFairNY.com/special-features. Information about Play Fair 2018 is available at www.PlayFairNY.com. Follow Play Fair on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute news.
About LeftField Media, LLC
LeftField Media, LLC is an events company focused on developing face-to-face events in a range of communities rooted in contemporary culture and shared passion. LeftField was formed in 2014 by Greg Topalian (CEO, LeftField Media) and is now owned by Topalian and Clarion Events Ltd. With a keen sense of the ever-evolving needs of businesses and their consumers as well as new opportunities created by change, LeftField takes a clean slate approach to business. LeftField’s portfolio includes Play Fair (playfairny.com), a family-focused celebration of toys and play built with the Toy Industry Association; Awesome Con (awesomecon.com), Washington DC’s Comic Con; Crunchyroll Expo (crunchyrollexpo.com) the best of what Japanese animation and pop culture has to offer; (Anime NYC (animenyc.com), a Japanese pop culture festival presented by Crunchyroll; AXPONA (axpona.com), a hi-fi audio convention in partnership with JD Events; Rose City Comic Con (rosecitycomiccon.com), one of the largest fan conventions in the Northwest, spanning the worlds of comics, toys, games, cosplay, movies, and television; and The Classic Auto Show (theclassicautoshow.com), a classic and vintage auto show launched in Los Angeles. LeftField Media is headquartered in Trumbull, CT (leftfieldmedia.com).
Founded in 1916, The Toy Association™, Inc. is the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and delivering toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages. The Toy Association leads the health and growth of the U.S. toy industry, which has an annual U.S. economic impact of $107.5 billion, and its 950+ members drive the annual $26.5 billion U.S. domestic toy market. The Toy Association serves as the industry’s voice on the developmental benefits of play, and promotes play’s positive impact on childhood development to consumers and media. The organization has a long history of leadership in toy safety, having helped develop the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 40 years ago, and remains committed to working with medical experts, government, consumers, and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe and fun play.
As a global leader, The Toy Association produces the world-renowned North American International Toy Fair and Fall Toy Preview; advocates on behalf of members around the world; sustains the Canadian Toy Association; acts as secretariat for the International Council of Toy Industries and International Toy Industry CEO Roundtable; and chairs the committee that reviews and revises America’s widely emulated ASTM F963 toy safety standard.