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Inside the largest toy fair in the Western Hemisphere

Toy Fair in New York City brings together not just toymakers but also investors, licensors and everyone who keeps the toy industry running.
Inside the largest toy fair in the western hemisphere
Posted at 9:45 PM, Oct 02, 2023

Race cars, plush dolls, 3D puzzles — if it's a toy, it's here at Toy Fair, the largest toy show in the Western Hemisphere.

This is the 118th Toy Fair in New York City, and one of the largest ever, with 1,000 exhibitors. There are so many toys they can't count them all.

"Everyone comes. It's not just the toy makers and toy sellers. It's the investors, licensors, anyone in the toy business is here," said Adrienne Appell, executive vice president of the Toy Association.

Crayola's been creating fun for kids since 1902, and now they're thinking way outside the crayon box. Scribble Scrubbies are small toy animals kids can color, then clean off and color again.

At the fair, Crayola is also taking time to promote its business decisions.

"We've been green longer than green's been a thing," said Scott Zelachowski, senior director of marketing for Crayola. "Our first crayons were made with the power of a water wheel. We were adjacent to a machine that powered all our machinery as it went through."

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While there are lots of fun toys at the fair, there's also a big focus on toys that double as science and educational tools, like a set of snow-globe toys that teaches kids about the changing seasons.

What's not changing is the demand for toys: It's a $40 billion business in the U.S., and it's twice as big in China, the top global market for toys.

But not everything starts out big. The fair has small start-up companies too.

"Some people have one toy, one idea, and sometimes this is where it comes to life," Appell said. "Barbie was first launched at this show."

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