Toy Fair Backpedals on Move to New Orleans
In early October, the non-profit group heralded the moving the wildly popular event out of New York for the first time since it began in 1916, planning to host it at the Ernest Morial Convention Center and New Orleans in 2026.
And the association's members were not happy about the decision.
Toy Association chairman Aaron Muderick sent a letter to the board on Friday, October 13, notifying them of the change in course, saying the shift was "the wrong choice for our members." He explains that scheduling conflicts with the current venue led them to consider other cities that could host the event that draws more than 20,000 people, and the association recognized that the where matters as much to its members as the what.
New Orleans is, understandable disappointed by the decision, and the Morial Convention Center will work to find a high-caliber replacement for the hole in their 2026 calendar.
The president and CEO of New Orleans & Company said in a statement that they understood the decision was based on the preferences of the Toy Association members and was not a reflection on the Crescent City, one of the few places that could host such a massive, complex event.
Muderick expressed appreciation and contrition to the city of New Orleans:
Likewise, we offer our deepest thanks to the professionals in New Orleans, one of the few destinations in the country able to successfully host shows as large and complex as ours. Conversations with New Orleans & Company as well as the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center were collaborative and exceeded our expectations. Through speaking with multiple cities, we can wholeheartedly say they are an incredible team of meetings professionals.
We are both energized and optimistic about the path ahead, although in retrospect, we recognize our shortcomings in the communication and decision-making process. We're committed to learning from these lessons and ensuring clearer, more inclusive dialogues in the future. We need invaluable member input as we move forward. It is our commitment to you that this will be addressed.
The Toy Fair will skip its show in 2024 as it focuses its support on a large industry event in Los Angeles that offers a preview to major buyers like Walmart and Target. The letter from Muderick references a return to the Javits Center in New York in March of 2025.
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