The important series of toy industry events that took place in Chicago last week had no overarching name, so at least for this posting; let’s call them "Toy Week in Chicago." The week, put on by Mary Couzin and her hard working volunteers consisted of: The T&G Inventor Con, the TAGIE Awards, the Social Media & Play Conference and the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. Any one of these events would be notable on its own but put together over the span of four days; they made for a rare toy industry experience.
This is the only event in the world, to my knowledge, in which those starting out have the opportunity to meet and socialize with those who are experts in their field. The ambient feeling that pervaded all events can best be summed up in an email I received from someone who came a very (and I mean very) long way to attend:
From the moment I arrived I felt that I was being embraced by welcoming arms. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and now plan to attend every year. The people that I met were all so lovely and so interesting; I know I have made lifelong friendships with so many people, thanks to yourself and Mary. Mary is such a darling Lady, I have great respect for her and all that she has done to make such a truly amazing Conference be so much fun and be so successful.
So, if you did not attend, think long and hard about doing so next year. And, I suggest that you sign up early. Based upon what I saw, I believe some of these are going to sell out.
So let me join the writer in thanking Mary Couzin, Tim Walsh, Anita Daniel, Mary Kay Russell and Nate Scheidler Jason Pine, Brian Torney, Gina Manola, Pat Matthews, Jill Moore, Tracy Dudkiewicz, Catherine McMillan, Peggy Brown, Tanya Thompson, Kim Vandenbroucke, Mike Hirtle, Richard Gill and last but not least Alan Hassenfeld for a great week.