ToyFest concluded its 10th tradeshow in Las Vegas, held at the World Market Center. Toy & Gift Stores from across the US attended the Las Vegas Show including stores from 48 states, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Guam, Korea, Mexico, Micronesia, Panama, Philippines, South America, the UK, and Venezuela. “What a week! ToyFest 2023 was filled with buyers from all over the country. The show had great energy and excitement, allowing everyone to enjoy all ToyFest had to offer. Resorts World was the perfect host hotel. Can’t wait for 2024, as we grow and continue to make ToyFest the best it can be for all.” said Sandy Lepire, ToyFest President.
As the specialty market evolves, ToyFest will continue to make this tradeshow relevant, affordable, fresh, and appealing to the specialty retailer. Bill St. John, Chairman of the Board commented at the General Meeting on Thursday night, “Our focus is to make 2024 a better show than it was this year. There were a few growing pains, but I believe the overall mood is that the buyers were happy, and the majority of the vendors were happy as well.” ToyFest experienced almost double the number of manufacturers and retailers in attendance this year. Both Morning Masterpieces and Game Night were sold out, the Gala hit capacity, and both seminars were full of people. ToyFest received positive feedback from the exhibitors who attended the show with many who have said they will be returning next year. The buyers that participated in Morning Masterpieces, the ToyFest Gala, Game Night and the Seminars felt value in attending these special events.
Morning Masterpieces Kit Session was packed full of buyers with breakfast and crafting to kick off the show. Buyers had the opportunity to see and learn in a hands-on fashion the newest and most creative kits and crafts on the market from a sold-out room with fifteen vendors including Abacus Brands, Anker Play Products, Bright Stripes, Connetix, Crestrar, DJECO, Mindware, OOLY, Outset Media, Plus – Plus, Ravensburger, The Pencil Group, U.S. Toy, Wikki Stix, Wrebbit Puzzles. ToyFest gave out extra drink tickets to the ToyFest Gala to those that stopped by each vendor table.
The 2023 ToyFest Gala was held at Zouk Nightclub at Resorts World where DJ flight had the people out of their seats dancing. More than 550 guests were in attendance and unfortunately some 100-150 were turned away because the venue reached capacity. Sandy Lepire and Bill St. John kicked off the awards portion of the Gala with an introduction of the volunteer Board of Directors and Slate of Officers. As always individuals from the toy industry were inducted into the Western Toy & Hobby Hall of Fame. This year Piccolo Mondo in Portland, Oregon took home Retailer of the Year. Michelle Smith accepted the award from Lepire. Lorraine Bozeman of Bozeman and Associates, Carol Knight who owned The Toy Store in Idaho and Mark Parsons from Winning Moves were honored and inducted for 2023. Sandy thanked everyone for attending and revealed CA Game Day will be August 28, 2023, in Berkeley, CA. The NW Game Day will be Aug 23 in Portland, OR and for the first time a second NW Game Day will be held in Seattle, WA on Aug 24. The Gala was exciting, visually stunning, the food was delicious, and the toy industry enjoyed socializing with friends and collogues, creating a captivating evening.
There were two seminars at ToyFest 2023, one focused on inventory management by Dan Jablons at Retail Smart Guys. The second seminar was a panel focusing on Industry trends that had both manufactures and retailers in attendance. The panel was moderated by Brian Miller. Betsy Malito, Gifts & Dec; Donna Moore, TTPM; Lizzy Newsome, Kappa Toys; and Tom Rushton, Revenew Sales brought their A game with intriguing and insightful information.
ToyFest Game Night was a fast and furious evening with nearly 100 attendees and a sold-out room with fifteen Game Sponsors including AMIGO Games, Blue Orange Games, eeBoo Corp., Epoch Everlasting Play, Family Games America, Goliath, Gray Matters, Haba, Hey Buddy Hey Pal, Imagination Gaming, M & J Games, R & R Games, Smart Toys & Games, Spin Master, The Good Game Company. ToyFest raffled $400 in cash +games to lucky buyers as an extra perk for attending. The night was packed full of fun with new games learned by all.
Best of ToyFest was full of great ideas and opinions from retailers on Thursday morning. The sit-down round table breakfast produced the following manufactures to take home the Best in ToyFest in each of the categories below:
• Arts & Crafts: Bright Stripes
• Building & Construction: Underdog Educational
• Dolls / Action Figures: Squishable
• Games & Puzzles: Goliath
• Infant: Kids Hits Intl tied with Melissa & Doug
• Novelty: Fun In Motion tied with Marmals
• Outdoor: National Sporting Goods
• Pre-School: Fat Brain
• Science, Stem/Steam: Abacus Brands
ToyFest 2023 raffled off nearly $2400 +product to buyers over three days in the ToyFest Daily Raffle. For every order written buyers received a raffle ticket to win.
ToyFest appreciates the continued enthusiasm and looks forward to seeing everyone in Las Vegas for the 2024 show happening at World Market Center Las Vegas the week of February 26 – March 1.