TFE/TFE Licensing, May/June 2022

Page 16


Back to In-Person Shows!

Sue Warfield, president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, on the unprecidented and exciting ASTRA Toy Boat cruise show scheduled for February 2023.

by Sue Warfield, ASTRA President Over the past 2 years we have all become used to the zoom/google/teams meetings. While we are certainly glad we had these options to be able to meet, we are, most certainly, ready for some in-person interaction! Shows are back and we are very excited to meet with our toy industry colleagues, touch and try new products, learn from one another and just have fun in a live environment. ASTRA has been working on our upcoming Marketplace & Academy that takes place June 12-15 in Long Beach, CA. We are super excited to get back to a full schedule of Sunday through Wednesday with Sunday being our education day and the trade show Monday, Tuesday and ½ the day on Wednesday. In addition, our social events will include a Meet and Greet on Saturday evening, a welcome party on Sunday evening and our Toy Lip Sync Battle on Monday evening. Check it all out and register at ( It’s going to be ASTRAnomical! We will be in Columbus, Ohio for our June 2023 show. In addition to Marketplace & Academy we are adding an additional experience in February of 2023. It’s the ASTRA Toy Boat! What??? It’s been a topsy-turvy couple of years – not just in the toy industry, but every industry. We thought now is a perfect time to shake things up a bit, and we’re trying something really new for ASTRA in 2023 After the cancellation of Toy Fair 2022 and the announcement of the event moving to September of 2023, ASTRA sent out a survey to members, and non-members, through various channels to determine if our toy industry would still like an offering in February of 2023 and if so, what was most important if something was offered. 16 tfe May/June 2022

We heard back from many of you with a resounding “yes!” The top two reasons for wanting to hold such an event was seeing new product in person, and meeting/networking with colleagues in person. The ASTRA board met in early March to determine next steps. We didn’t want to replace other shows, including our own Marketplace & Academy. We also didn’t want to do anything similar to what is already being done at other shows - both national and regional. We will continue to support other shows such as the gift marts, ToyFest, and Toy Fair. So… how about this for a doozy? We’ll be launching the ASTRA Toy Boat – a four-day sailing adventure out of Fort Lauderdale from Feb. 20-24, 2023. Here are the basics to answer questions that have come up on how this will work:

What Cruise Line? • •

Royal Caribbean Ship – Liberty of the Seas

Timeline for Cruise • • • • •

Leaves Ft. Lauderdale on February 20, 2023 February 21 - Private Island – Cococay, Bahamas February 22 – Day at Sea February 23 – Nassau, Bahamas February 24 – Back at Ft. Lauderdale at 6 a.m.

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