Chicago Toy & Game Week
|Chicago Toy & Game Week|
|File:ChiTAG Week Logo.png|
|Genre||Toys and Games|
|Organized by||Chicago Toy & Game Group|
Chicago Toy & Game Week is an annual week celebrating play and innovation in the toy industry throughout Chicago with the Chicago Toy & Game Fair, the Toy & Game Innovation Awards (TAGIEs), the Young Inventor Challenge, Inventor and Educator conferences, and the PlayCHIC Fashion Show.
The Chicago Toy & Game Group, or ChiTAG Group, has organized these events since 2003.
Chicago Toy & Game Fair
The first ChiTAG Fair occurred in 2003 and marked the beginning of the Chicago Toy & Game Week. The fair was inspired by the Essen Game Fair in Germany, which propelled the idea of a fair where consumers, inventors, manufacturers, and other groups could come together and treat inventors as celebrities. Whereas Essen is centered on games, ChiTAG added toys and entertainment experiences and has grown to be the largest toy and game fair in the United States open to the public. In the past, the Fair has been held at venues around Chicago such as Navy Pier.
Week Of Play
ChiTAG week holds multiple events.
Since 2006, ChiTAG Group has hosted conferences for professionals in the business of play. Attendees come from approximately 25 countries each year and it is the largest event for toy and game inventors in the world. The conference presentations and panels include:
- New Inventors to Learn, Network and Pitch Ideas
- Professional Inventors to Learn, Network and Pitch Ideas
- Tech for Toys and Games
- Company Licensors Looking for New Products (Product Pickers)
- Educators Teaching Through Play
- Social Media and Play
Toy & Game Innovation Awards
The Toy & Game Innovation Awards was founded in 2008 to promote and appreciate inventors for their contributions to the industry. Nominated Awards are categories where recipients are nominated by industry experts, retailers, or consumers and then voted upon by everyone. One of the winners for the Young Designer of the Year, 12 year old Greyson Maclean, was featured on Conan. The categories are:
- Excellence in Toy Design
- Excellence in Game Design
- Rising Star Designer
- Young Designer of the Year
- Excellence In Electronic Toy or Game Design
Closed Awards are additional awards determined by a jury of industry-based judges in the categories of:
- Excellence in Character Design
- Excellence in Inventor Advocacy
- Founders Award
- Hassenfeld Family Initiatives Humanitarian Award
- In Memoriam
- Lifetime Achievement
PlayCHIC Fashion Show
The PlayCHIC Fashion Show promotes fashion inspired by toy, game and entertainment brands. The first show was in 2011.
Young Inventor Challenge
Founded in 2006, the Young Inventor Challenge (YIC) is a competition open to children ages 6–18 to create their own original toy or game to be showcased to toy & game industry professionals, media, and the general public. The goal of the YIC is to teach "kids to become innovators and entrepreneurs". The judging for the competition is split into two categories: junior and senior. Junior contestants range from 6–11 and senior contestants range from 12–18. The YIC is free to participate in, and contestants and their immediately family are welcomed to the ChiTAG Fair for free. In 2015 and 2016, over 200 kids competed from around North America.
Young Tech Challenge
Founded in 2016, the Young Tech Challenge is the result of a partnership with Spin Master. It is a competition for creators between 8–22 to show off a playful tech product.
Star Wars Luncheon
The Star Wars Luncheon provides fans an opportunity to have fun and dine with members of the 501st Midwest Garrison, the largest Star Wars costume group in the world.
Chicago Toy & Game Group
ChiTAG Group's mission statement is "To build community through play by providing opportunities for people of all ages to connect with one another and experience the joy and educational value of traditional play." ChiTAG Group seeks to achieve this through consumer face-to-face interaction, inventors (inventors of all ages both new and professional), fashion and awards. ChiTAG Group recognizes play as a crucial part to child development and growth, as well as a way for families to connect improve general quality of life.
ChiTAG Group was founded by Mary Couzin, who currently acts as President and CEO. The board consists of various inventors and executives at toy companies such as Hasbro, Mattel, and Spin Master including former chairman and CEO of Hasbro, Alan Hassenfeld and the inventor of Bop It, Dan Klitsner, in addition to American game inventor and writer, Tim Walsh.
- "ChiTAG founder Mary Couzin on the fight to ensure recognition for toy inventors".
- "It's time to play at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair". 18 November 2016.
- "Chicago Toy & Game Fair - Navy Pier". 9 November 2012.
- Behrens, Web. "Plan a play date at Chicago Toy & Game Fair".
- "TAGIE Winner Greyson MacLean on Conan and More". Global Toy News.
- "Greyson Maclean Interview Pt. 1 11/14/11". TeamCoco.
- FOX. "PlayCHIC Fashion Show preview".
- Lee, Ronda (1 December 2016). "The Art of Fun: Chicago Toy & Game Fair".
- alyssa42, Community Contributor. "The Chicago Toy & Game Group Announces The 10th Annual Young Inventor Challenge Winners".
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