Chicago Toy and Game Fair
When game creator Mary Couzin attended the Essen Game Fair in Germany in 2001, she was moved to see the reverence with which European crowds greeted their toy and game designers. Two years later, she'd founded the first Chicago Toy & Game Fair at Navy Pier. In the city where beloved playthings including Beanie Babies and Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots were created, Couzin continues to throw a annual two-day extravaganza the weekend before Thanksgiving. Along with international guests, inventors of classics such as Jenga and Operation gather to sign copies of their famous creations. Giant toys and games grace the festival hall, tournaments challenge competitors to prove their yo-yo skills and Settlers of Catan strategies, and Star Wars fans gather for lunch in costume. Throughout the event, various costumed characters will also be present, wandering amid the exhibits.