The Chicago Toy and Game Group Rebrands as ‘People of Play’ (POP) and Announces Week of Virtual Programming to Kick Off 2020 Holiday Season

The Chicago Toy & Game Group (CHITAG), the organization known for championing toy and game innovators around the world and celebrating their achievements at iconic industry events including CHITAG Week, the Innovation Conferences, the Young Inventor Challenge and the Toy & Game International Excellence Awards, is rebranding under the name People of Play (POP).
Led by Mary Couzin who founded the Chicago Toy & Game Group in 2003, People of Play will continue the mission of promoting innovation, creativity and connectivity in the toy and game industry.
“While Chicago continues to be our homebase, we believe the name People of Play better describes the vast reach of our organization.,” said Couzin. “Over the last two decades, CHITAG has grown to connect tens of thousands of incredible inventors, brands, distributors, retailers, PR agencies, suppliers, media and influencers from all over the world. We believe community is at the heart of this organization and People of Play will continue to be a leader in fostering an environment of support and collaboration.”
The organization’s inaugural event, CHITAG Presents People of Play Week kicks off Monday, November 16th with an exciting virtual line-up of workshops, awards and entertainment.
Schedule of Events:
Toy & Game International Innovation Summit
Monday, November 16th-Friday, November 20th
The world’s largest toy and game innovation conference is going virtual, making it more accessible than ever! Over 5 days, everyone is invited to participate in workshops, networking and pitching ideas.
Headlining this year’s conference is our Leaders and Legends talks with some of the top performers in the industry including:
Richard Dickson, President and COO of Mattel.
 Jill Barad, one of the first four Fortune 500 CEOs and known for setting Barbie on a trajectory of unmatched success with her WE Girls campaign back in the 80’s.
Tom Kalinske, formerly the president of Sega, Mattel and LeapFrog, now the Executive Chairman of Mixed Dimensions.
Eddy Goldfarb, who’s credited with inventing over 800 toys and games including his first invention Yakity Yak Teeth as well as KerPlunk and Hydro Strike.
 Reuben Klamer, the inventor of more than 200 products including the classic Fisher-Price Preschool Trainer Skates and Hasbro’s The Game of Life
 Neil Friedman, formerly President of Alex Brands, ToysRUs, Mattel, Fisher-Price and Tyco Preschool and now an industry consultant.
Toy & Game International Excellence Awards (TAGIES)
Friday Evening, November 20th
Grab your favorite drink or two and toast your fellow industry colleagues at the 13th annual TAGIE Awards, which recognize outstanding achievement in the toy and game industry.
Some of the highlights of this year’s amazing virtual show include:
Honoring Erno Rubik, inventor of the Rubik’s Cube, with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Norman and Arlene Fabricant for Celebration of Life and Lifetime Achievement
Awarding TAGIEs in 8 categories including Toy and Game Innovators of the Year, Rising Star and new category, Most Innovative Supplier.
Coming back for a second year of hosting duties is Karri Bean, Senior Manager, Licensing at Disney Consumer Products, Experiences and Consumer Products. Her colleague JoAnn McLaughlin, Senior Vice President of Hardlines Product Development, Disney Parks Experiences & Products, will deliver the keynote.
Late Friday Evening, November 20th
Hosted by brothers Robert and David Fuhrer of Nextoy, LLC and BlueSquare Innovations respectively, the After-POP Party features an eclectic group of talent from the toy and game industry including:
Steve Casino and his amazing peanut art!
Magic by Jim McCafferty of JMP Creative, Danny Kishon of All in 1 Products and magician and inventor Mark Setteducati
Guiness Book of World Records holder, David Fuhrer talks backwards!
Chicago Toy & Game Fair
Saturday, November 21st and Sunday, November 22nd
Spanning 3 virtual stages, families won’t want to miss the fun!
Stage 1 features our popular Young Inventor Challenge with a workshop for young inventors, plus we’ll be awarding prizes to our latest Young Inventor Challenge winners. 
Stage 2 is for preschoolers. Listen to stories from your favorite characters, watch a magic show and participate in fun singalongs.
Stage 3 is for the whole family. Learn the behind-the-scenes secrets of your favorite toys and games.
Tickets for CHITAG Presents People of Play Week go on sale Monday, August 24th. Go to for more information.