The US Toy Association has revealed a new digital-based toy fair schedule of virtual events in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Toy Fair Everywhere is a series of virtual market weeks to help toy businesses connect with their customers, suppliers, and the global play community during this time.
The first week of events will begin on 13 July and will run to 19 July.
The program will enable toy manufacturers to connect to the global audience of toy buyers, media, and other key stakeholders ahead of the critical fourth quarter selling season. Two additional Toy Fair Everywhere market weeks are planned for 17 to 23 August and 14 to 20 September.
Just as if walking a show floor, virtual market week attendees will be able to explore a calendar of daily events, browse exhibitors by category, and book appointments for virtual demos and chats.
Toy Fair Everywhere will also feature educational sessions and other special events, both live and pre-recorded, that highlight the resiliency, drive, and passion of the global toy community.
The Toy Association's executive vice president of global market events Marian Bossard said that the program is designed to complement the face-to-face toy fair events.
"If there is one thing we have all learned in these unprecedented times when we are forced to social distance from friends, family, and colleagues, it’s the power and importance of connection.
"These three virtual market weeks can help answer member and toy community needs.
"They were not created to replace our existing face-to-face marketplaces (Toy Fair New York and Toy Fair Dallas) but to supplement them and help bridge the gap in industry engagement.
"The Toy Association has the reach, the resources, and the responsibility to play this role for the toy and play community.
"Our aim is that Toy Fair Everywhere provides the industry with the much-needed opportunity to connect and engage from afar while continuing to make essential headway for their businesses to forge ahead in the current climate.
"We all know Christmas, birthdays, and gift-giving holidays are still coming, and the toy industry's steadfast optimism and resilience must be met with the ability to prepare," she said.
Further details on Toy Fair Everywhere will be released in the coming weeks.