THE 2015 CHICAGO TOY & GAME FAIR BREAKS RECORDS, INCREASES ATTENDANCE BY 20% AND SECURED MORE THAN 550 MILLION IMPRESSIONS
CHICAGO, Ill. (December 17, 2015) – The Chicago Toy & Game Group hosted the 13th Annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair (ChiTAG) the weekend before Thanksgiving at Navy Pier. ChiTAG is the largest toy and game fair in North America that is open to the public. Despite a 120-year record snow storm, floor space increased by over 30% and attendance increased by over 20% this year. With its largest crowd ever of more than 30,000, the fair secured more than 550 million impressions this year and is recognized as the premier destination for hands-on experience of the hottest toys and games each and every holiday season.
This year, over one hundred and fifty toy and game companies showcased thousands of toys and games at ChiTAG. The Chicago Toy & Game Fair week includes a variety of events including The Chicago Toy & Game Innovation and Industry Conferences, playCHIC, Toy & Game Innovation Awards (TAGI), The Young Inventor Challenge and more.
Kicking off the weeks events is the annual playCHIC Fashion Show. The 4th Annual playCHIC Fashion Show gave top fashion designers the chance to combine creativity and playfulness with top toy and game brands. Fashion designers, Peach Carr, Michelle Tan and Laura Thapthimkuna, created designs based on Spin Master’s Zoomer Kitty and Meccano as well as Mystery! and Extra! Extra! by Mayfair Games. Alison Ray of So Chic Life hosted the event as the premiere social media ambassador with a team of social media influencers to cover the event.
Following playCHIC, was the 8th Annual Toy & Game Innovation (TAGI) Awards gala, which recognized excellence in the toy and game industry, presented by Hasbro. Mark Boudreaux, inventor of Star Wars Millennium Falcon, won Excellence in Toy Design. Laurie Peterson, designer of Malia’s Beach House, Marine Rescue Center, Day at the Beach, Fairytale Theater, and Pet Portrait Studio, won the Rising Star Designer award. Elan Lee, Matthew Inman, and Shane Small, designers of Exploding Kittens, won Excellence in Game Design. Duncan and Hayden, inventors of Two Bros Bows, won the Young Inventor of the Year award. Adam Wilson and Ian Bernstein, inventors of BB-8, won Best Digital Toy or Game. The Hassenfeld Family Humanitarian Award went to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago. This year’s In Memoriam Award honored Richard Knerr and Arthur “Spud” Melin, the co-founders of the Wham-O Company. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Richard Maddocks.
The Young Inventor Challenge sponsored by Spin Master had a record number of participants. “The challenge has become an international event, said Julie Blake, Director of the Young Inventor Challenge. “We had more than 200 children participate this year as contestants traveled hundreds if not thousands of miles to attend. Children came from California, Colorado, Florida, Utah, New York and Pennsylvania as well as several international contestants from Mexico.” Steven Huetteman (11) won the Senior Category for his game, Chromo Tag, which was based on paintball. Kedar Narayann (7) won the Junior Category for his game, Storibot, which teaches blind kids to code using braille and velcro game pieces. Athena Gottleib (6) took home the 2nd place prize in the Junior Category. Entrants came from as far as Mexico and California, with the Senior Category 2nd place winners, Nathaniel Grgurina and Kodo Elder (both 17 years old) flying from San Rafael, California.
During the fair, attendees had the opportunity to play and experience thousands of products before deciding which toy and game they liked best by casting their votes for the Best Toy and Best Game. The public awarded Best Toy to Spin Master’s Zoomer Kitty, which was dreamed up by Peter Greenley and Nick Grisola of G2 Invention. The award for Best Game was given to Giant Jenga, invented by Leslie Scott.
The Chicago Toy & Game Group also hosted its inaugural Ambassador Program that brought a lineup of top influencers to the Chicago Toy & Game Week events to provide live coverage from a variety of unique perspectives on the week’s events. The ambassadors included Keriann Wilmot from ToyQueen.com, Jenn Choi from ToysAreTools.com, Joey Fortman from Real Mom Media and Cindy Simmons from Surviving Mommy and the hugely popular mom and daughter team behind the YouTube sensation “Mommy & Gracie Show”. In partnership with Mommy and Gracie, The Chicago Toy and Game Fair hosted the first ever-live unboxing event, which was attended by hundreds and has already received more than 58,000 views online.
Plans for the 14th annual Chicago Toy & Game Fair are already underway as consumers, inventors and industry professional can expect another incredible week of events just prior to Thanksgiving 2016. Please log on to ChiTAG.com as more details become available.