NEW ORLEANS — On Oct. 1, producers of the North American International Toy Fair announced they are moving the iconic annual event from New York City to New Orleans in 2026, 2027 and 2028.
The massive industry trade show — where the Hasbros and Mattels of the world unveil their newest playthings, and upstarts tap into the country’s $27 billion annual toy market — has taken place in New York for the last 118 years. It’s produced by the Toy Association, a nonprofit trade association representing businesses that create and deliver toys and youth entertainment products.
Toy Fair is expected to bring 20,000 attendees from around the globe each year that it’s in New Orleans. It’s unclear if the event will stay in New Orleans after the three-year commitment.
Attendees check out new toys at the Jacob Javits Center on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023 in New York. (Bennett Raglin/AP Images for Jazwares, LLC.)
“After gathering opinions from key retailers, exhibitors and members of the Toy Association and based on a number of evaluation factors including timing, high-quality space availability, access to transportation, and affordability for exhibitors and attendees, it became clear that New Orleans would be the best fit for the Toy Fair – and best meet the needs of all our diverse guests,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Toy Association.
Pasierb cited the city’s new airport, other new “state-of-the-art” facilities, and its lively restaurant scene as some of the reasons for the big switch. The walkability of the New Orleans downtown is another factor.
Representatives of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and New Orleans & Company, an 1,100-member destination marketing organization, said the organizations worked together to lure the show to town.
“New Orleans is globally celebrated as a center of creativity and innovation—a perfect fit for Toy Fair,” said Walt Leger, III, president and CEO of New Orleans & Company. “Our teams are among the most respected in the industry and their work in attracting this event will sustain thousands of jobs, result in tens of millions of dollars in direct economic impact and generate millions in local and state taxes.”
The show will be held Jan. 17-20 in 2026, Jan. 9-12 in 2027, and Jan. 15-18 in 2028.
© 2023 Biz New Orleans.