Mar 7, 2023
ToyFest 2023 gathers toy industry in Las Vegas

ToyFest concluded its 10th trade show in Las Vegas, held at the World Market Center.

Toy and gift stores from across the world attended the Las Vegas Show, including stores from 48 U.S. states, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Guam, Korea, Mexico, Micronesia, Panama, Philippines, South America, the UK and Venezuela.

“What a week,” says Sandy Lepire, president of ToyFest. “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.”

Show executives says they aim to make ToyFest relevant, affordable, fresh, and appealing to the specialty retailer.

“Our focus is to make 2024 a better show than it was this year,” said Bill St. John, chairman of the board. “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 well trafficked, show executives said.

Morning Masterpieces Kit Session featured 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: 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.

The ToyFest Gala was held at Zouk Nightclub at Resorts World, where more than 550 guests were in attendance. Lepire and St. John kicked off the awards portion of the Gala introduced the volunteer board of directors and slate of officers.

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.

There were two seminars at ToyFest: one focused on inventory management by Dan Jablons at Retail Smart Guys and a panel focusing on industry trends for manufacturers and retailers alike.

Best of ToyFest, a 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 2024 will take place Feb. 26-March 1, 2024, at World Market Center in Las Vegas.

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