Second Annual Play Fair Returns to the Big Apple, Expands Showfloor
Play Fair, a public celebration of play and entertainment for all ages, returned to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City for its second year with a larger showfloor, more exhibiting companies and a broader itinerary of immersive, family-friendly activities.
Held Nov. 4-5 and Hosted by The Toy Association in partnership with LeftField Media, the event provided a sold-out crowd of more than 20,000 children, parents, families and fans with a first glimpse of the toys, games and entertainment expected to be topping wishlists this holiday season.
Play Fair 2017 attracted 75 exhibitors representing 89 brands to a 230,000 square foot showfloor, compared with the inaugural event in February 2016, when more than 20,000 attendees and 65 exhibitors spanned 150,000 sq. ft. of expo space.
“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,” said Kelly Comboni, president of LeftField Media.
She continued, “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.”
During the weekend event, Play Fair visitors had the chance to interact with dozens of hands-on exhibits; check out eye-popping displays; take advantage of meet and greets with celebrity guests, and engage in fun activities featuring some of their favorite brands.
According to show officials, more than 70 percent of attendees said the event helped them discover a new toy or character for the whole family to enjoy, with 85 percent saying that their Play Fair experiences would factor into seasonal gift purchases.
“There is no better place for families to experience their most beloved playthings, brands and characters during the holidays than at Play Fair,” said Marian Bossard, executive vice president of global market events at The Toy Association.
She continued, “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.”
Other fun-filled show features included a Toys“R”Us main stage; a brand-new activity stage showcasing STEAM programming and interactive panel sessions, and two dedicated screening rooms.
Larger-than-life play experiences, stage activities and consumer challenges included a Minecraft VR station; giant NERF arena; augmented reality Ben 10 experience; builder demos with Magformers; an 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.
During the event’s Media & Industry Preview Night, The Toy Association unveiled the 2018 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards finalists. Known as the “Oscars” of the toy industry that recognizes the top toys of the holiday season, the TOTY awards program also supports children in need by serving as a critical fundraising event for the Toy Industry Foundation.
Following the show, Play Fair and its exhibitors extended the holiday cheer to local children and families experiencing severe forms of hardship by donating more than 16,000 toys valued at $26,637 to the Toy Industry Foundation.
Play Fair will return to the Javits Center Nov. 3-4.