From the larger-than-life game of Build or Boom and the Rummikub National Championship to the Illinois State Yoyo Competition and the opportunity for inventors to develop their craft, expand their networks and pitch industry heavyweights, the 2017 Chicago Toy & Game Week (Nov. 16-19) has more to offer than just the latest and greatest playthings.
It is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to play, celebrate, discover, support, promote and participate in the creation of toys and games.
The Fair is the marquee consumer event of the 15th Annual Chicago Toy & Game Week, held annually on Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago) just in time to kick off to the holiday season. The largest annual gathering of non-hobby toy and game brands, inventors, acquisition executives, retailers and distributors in North America, the week-long event also includes professional conferences led by leaders in the toys and games industry. The annual TAGIE awards honor toy and game achievements.
And, a Young Inventors Challenge gives aspiring inventors the chance to be mentored by industry luminaries and pitch their concepts to the marketplace. ChiTAG’s 2017 sponsors include Target, Pressman, Mattel, Hasbro, SpinMaster, PlayMonster, LEGO and Goliath.
“ChiTAG continues to grow leaps and bounds every year, and 2017 is sure to be our biggest and most memorable year yet,” said Mary Couzin, CEO and founder for ChiTAG. “Each year, both our massive turnout and the thrill and joy emanating from Navy Pier remind us that play is a fundamental part of the human experience, with unique potential to break down barriers, bring people together and help them achieve their greatest potential.”
2017 Theme and Sculpture Installation: Play for Peace
It is in that spirit that Couzin and her team of toy and game industry collaborators have chosen “Play for Peace” as the overarching theme for ChiTAG 2017. To bring this to life, this year’s Fair will feature a large-scale, 3D motorized sculpture entitled “Play for Peace.” Replete with water elements, this will be only the second installation of the sculpture, now on display at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich. “Play for Peace” is one of the latest works from prolific and celebrated sculptor Jeffrey Breslow, a groundbreaker and an inventor in the toy and games industry prior to becoming a sculptor. According to Breslow, the message of the sculpture is clear: “If we learn to get along as children, there will be harmony in the world when we grow up.”
Toy & Game Fair Details
The headlining event of ChiTAG is the largest toy and game fair in North America open to the general public, offering a weekend of fun-filled discovery, play, competitions and other interactive events. Many show exhibitors sell top products right on the show floor, making ChiTAG the perfect place to begin holiday shopping. Kids will also have the opportunity to test brand new products and meet the inventors from all over the world who created them. Guests have access to all the amenities on Navy Pier and can make it a full weekend in Chicago by also attending the concurrently timed Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Tickets are $14 for adults and $7 for children, available now at chitag.com/fair.
10th Annual TAGIE Awards Gala
Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, 6 p.m.
The 10th Annual Toy and Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards Gala is an elegant evening event on Friday, Nov. 17, 6-11 p.m. The ceremony brings together toy industry leaders from around the world for a night of celebration to pay homage to masters of invention in categories such as Toy Designer of the Year and Rising Star Designer. New categories for 2017 include Innovative Marketing Team of the Year and Art and Design Visual of the Year. Tickets are $250. For more information, sponsorship opportunities and to purchase tickets, visit chitag.com/tagies.
Young Inventor Challenge
Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017
Once again, ChiTAG will offer kids ages six to 18 the opportunity to showcase their original toy and game concepts and inventions to industry professionals, members of the media and the general public. Last year’s winning concept, Ship of Treasures by Olivia Wasilewski and Bryanna Siewers, will debut on Target shelves the first week of October. Prizes include $10,000 in scholarships. For the first time in 2017, entrants will have the opportunity to enter and compete via video, making this one-of-a-kind opportunity available to kids around the world, whether or not they are able to travel to Chicago. Entries will receive professional feedback and critiques from industry experts. Full details and complete entry information are available at chitagyounginventorchallenge.pitchwizard.net.
Nov. 16-17, 2017
The largest event for the toy and game industry in the world and for aspiring toy and game inventors and established industry players alike, ChiTAGs innovation conferences offer five unique content tracks offering customized professional development and invaluable networking. Specialized offerings include tracks for new inventors, professional inventors, product acquisition executives and two tracks designed to help attendees learn and expand their skills in the areas of educational play and social media. For the latest information on speakers, schedules and registration, visit chitag.com/conferences.