Well, the promise was no snow this toy fair. No one said anything about rain, though, and man, did we get rain on Friday and Saturday morning. I think I saw Noah in his Arc on the Hudson River on Friday! It wasn’t a 24″ snowstorm, but the record-breaking rain really threw a monkey wrench into the show’s opening, with many folks having trouble getting into town this weekend. Some canceled altogether, some rescheduled, and most muddled through and made it into town in time to set up on day one.
Things kicked off Friday with an amazing Award Show and Hall of Fame Gala highlighted by the induction to the Hall of Mary Couzin and the boys of Spinmaster with an epic acceptance “song” from partner Ben Verdi (hopefully someone will post it online). Sunday night was the Women in Toys event, which is reported to have been “Amazing.” Both are complete sellouts.
For sure, traffic did seem a bit light the first two days compared to previous toy fairs, but very busy for sure, with solid quality between buyers, licensors, inventors, and guests, and a special shout-out to all the bloggers, influences, and social media stars that were on the floor. Monday is sure to be busy and productive. Clearly, there will be much debate as to whether this show will be a success or failure, and opinions and experience will likely reflect both depending upon the exhibitor company.
The big news was the future move of the show in 2026 to the other “LA”…. Louisiana, not Los Angeles!!! Wow, total shocker and talk of the day today. There are no clear or easy decisions with the future of Toy Fair, and I feel for the Association management and board as there is no way to make everyone happy and no magic wand to make a date or location perfect. I will say that many, including me, are very concerned about New Orleans as the location for the show, and many fear for the future of the toy fair as we know it with this location. Folks I talk to hope the association with two years before a move of location might reexamine that decision and, if possible, “unwind it.” Word on the floor is that the contract with New Orleans is not signed yet. I urge members to express concern or support to TA staff and board members. There will be no show in 2024 and one last show in NY on March 1st, 2025.
There will be a lot more to discuss on the changes announced Sunday, but New Orleans as a location for this event is definitely concerning many, and members will need to hear more about the rationale of this move. It seems to miss a number of critical boxes to check. This is certainly big news.