The first thing one of my kids asked me today when I came home from my day at Toy Fair is “where is Mr Potato Head”?
You see, today children are not allowed into the show at Javits but when I was younger- things were different. The show took place at the “old” toy building on 23rd and 5th in Manhattan. Each company had a showroom behind closed doors, and my dad was the publisher of a trade magazine called Toy and Hobby World. I attended every year.
My job during Toy Fair was to make sure that every showroom for this show (that lasted weeks -not days) had 2 copies of his leading magazine. Those magazines weighed a ton- but I didn’t care. Every showroom held a different surprise and I couldn’t wait to open each door and see it all. Certain showrooms had 2 doors, and so when I went in to drop off our book- I only made it to the reception desk area where there were no new toys in sight- THAT, was heart breaking.
Each year my favorite showroom then was Gund. The way I remember it, You walked into this world of animals right up to the ceiling! It was amazing.
In the hallways of “The Toy Building” men in suites played catch with new hot sporting toys, tried out new bikes & even trampolines! I loved it. It was funny to watch, it was fun to be a part of.
Today, the show is much shorter- but the fun continues and grows each year. New games are being played, new skateboards are being taken for a spin, connections are being made, retailers are filling their shelves, and everyone is trying to invent the next “hottest” item for the season. It’s what continues to make Toy Fair fun!
Back when I was a child delivering books to showrooms-who knew that the pages I was delivering held the true secret to staying young at heart and that I would continue turning those pages into my adulthood.
I look forward to the day my kids can attend Toy Fair and discover the cool new Mr. Potato Head themselves first hand- and I can only hope that the love of toys will continue to grow in my family, as it has for generations.