Santa Claus is coming to the Chicago Toy and Game Fair on November 17 and 18, 2018.
It’s part of a slate of new initiatives and development for the toy and game inventors fair. The jolly old elf will meet and greet kids of all ages inside a toy workshop created from Magformers at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago).
This will be a marquee element of the week-long celebration that celebrates toys, games and the creative people behind them.
The display from Magformers will be one of more than 100 installations, interactive exhibits and storefronts created by leading toy and game brands from around the world.
Now in its 16th year, the Chicago Toy and Game Fair (CHITAG) has become a time-honoured tradition for toy and game lovers of all ages in Chicago and around the world. Taking place annually the weekend before Thanksgiving, families kick off their holiday shopping season and come to play and experience the hottest holiday toys and games from industry leading companies.
This year’s ChiTAG Fair will debut new elements such as a beer garden for adults, celebrating the rising trend of grown up gaming, as well as a baby and toddler play-space. Characters from games such as Greedy Granny will come to life for photo opportunities, Etch-a-Sketch fans can meet one of the medium’s premier artists and participants might even get the chance to play a round of Jenga with the game’s inventor.
Before doors open to consumers, ChiTAG Week begins on Thursday, November 16 with events focused on the toy and game industry, including the world’s largest inventor conference.
Over 50 companies have product acquisition executives or teams attending looking for new ideas. Professional and new inventors, product acquisition executives, retailers and distributors from the biggest names in the industry gather to learn from each other, pitch their ideas and play.
Meanwhile, new this year is the Play in Education Track where attendees can earn education credits.
On Friday evening, November 16 the Toy and Game Innovation Awards, better known as the TAGIEs highlight the very best in the industry. Awards are given in several categories including Rising Star Innovator of the Year, Innovative Art and Visuals, Innovative Marketing Team, Young Inventor of the Year, Toy Innovator of the Year and Game Innovator of the Year.
“ChiTAG Week gets bigger and better every year,” said CEO and founder Mary Couzin.
“The dedication and creativity of the inventors and the toy and game companies that keep coming back year after year demonstrate the power of experiential play that only Chicago Toy and Game Week can bring to consumers.”
These events are supported by key sponsors including Goliath, Hasbro, LEGO, PlayMonster, Spin Master, Oxford Games, Target, Mattel, Razor, TIA, ASTRA and The Michael Kohner Corporation.
ChiTAG 2018 Toy & Game Fair Details
ChiTAG’s Toy and Game Fair is the largest toy and game fair in North America open to the general public. This year, the 30,000 people expected to walk through the doors will have plenty to see and do including:
- Taking a test ride on Razor’s new Drift Rider
- Racing their own Automoblox car designs on the race track at PlayMonster’s booth
- Meeting Greedy Granny at the Goliath booth
- WTTW’s The Big Idea Tour’s Traveling Lab takes the stage on Saturday, November 17 at 10:30am. Come and Wonder, Watch and Learn More!
- Adults can stop by the Beer Garden for pints of cold suds and sit down to play some of the industry’s best games for grown ups.
- Also new this year, bring your littles to the Baby and Toddler PlaySpace where young builders can try Mindware’s Keva Junior planks, Yoee Baby’s developmental baby toys and more.
- Young inventors 6-18 vie for tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money in the Young Inventor Challenge
- Watch Princess Etch bring your favorite characters to life on her Etch-a-Sketch
- NEW! Participate in the Stratego National Championship on Sunday November 18 (Sign up at www.chitag.com/stratego-game-championship)
- Moms can get a break at Mommy’s TimeOut in the Beer Garden. (Saturday, November 17 at 3pm)
- Special needs families can come early both days for the Sensory Power Hour sponsored by Playfoam and the National Parenting Network
- Scouts can earn a special Gravi-Trax patch at the Ravensburger booth for competing in a marble run
- Challenge improv artist and comic Ken McGraw from the Upright Citizen’s Brigade to a hilarious game of Sculptapalooza in the Beer Garden
- Contestants from coast to coast compete in the Yoyo Championship
- Build LEGO pinewood derby cars and race!
- Win a Safari Ltd. shopping spree!
- Enjoy Ben’s Giant Bubble Show
- Snap a photo with your favorite Star Wars characters
- Plus, take advantage of discounts on the hottest holiday toys!
Families can spend their entire weekend at Navy Pier for the Fair, all for one low price. Tickets are $14 for adults and $7 for children, available now at chitag.com/fair.
2018 Fair hours are November 17th 10am-6pm and November 18th 10am-5pm. ChiTAG is timed each year to occur the same weekend as the Disney Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, making the perfect pre-holiday weekend getaway to Chicago.
TAGIE Awards Gala
Friday, November 16, 2017, 6-10pm
The 11th Annual Toy and Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards Gala is an elegant evening event that brings together toy industry leaders from around the world for a night of celebration to honour masters of invention in categories such as Toy Innovator of the Year and Game Innovator of the Year.
Tickets are $250. For more information, sponsorship opportunities and to purchase tickets, visit chitag.com/tagies.
Young Inventor Challenge – November 17 at the Fair
Kids six to 18 will compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships by presenting their original toy and game ideas.
The showcase is open to the public and during the judging, professional toy and game inventors give feedback. Last year’s winning concept, Galactiquest by Ellie Skalla of Chicago is being manufactured by Pressman Toy and will debut on Target shelves in January. Full details and complete entry information are available at https://www.chitag.com/yic.
Innovation Conferences (November 15-16)
With four unique tracks, the Innovation conferences offer customised professional development and superior networking.
New this year is the Play in Education Track. Other offerings include tracks for new inventors, professional inventors, product acquisition executives and meeting investors. For the latest information on speakers, schedules and registration, visit http://www.chitag.com/conferences.
Get the latest details on 2018 special events, speakers, exhibitors and more on www.chitag.com.