In their ability to bring together hundreds of toys, trade expos are matched only by historic gatherings such as the teddy-bear picnic and uprising, lead by a fiery Teddy Ruxpin. Be at the forefront of toy history with today's Groupon: for $5, you get one adult day ticket to the 2010 Chicago Toy & Game Fair (a $10 value), hosted at Navy Pier on November 20 and 21.
The largest public fair of its kind in the United States, the Chicago Toy & Game Fair offers games and activities for guests of all ages. Dozens of exhibitors display new products, inviting young ones and young-at-heart parents to preview, play, and sneakily start holiday shopping. Petite prodigies can challenge Bobby Fisher's ghost in the Renaissance Knights Chess Pavilion, participate in Monopoly tournaments, or create transient masterpieces on the world's largest Etch A Sketch. Additional events include the Young Inventor's Challenge, in which aspiring Edisons and teen Teslas can have brainchildren judged by a panel including Hasbro representatives and actor John Ratzenberger. The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile will be in attendance, and for an additional fee, families can dig into the Star Wars breakfast, ordering their eggs Dark-Side-up alongside the costumed contingent of Vader's 501st Legion.
Chicago Toy & Game Fair
When toy and game inventor Mary Couzin attended Essen Fair in Germany in 2001, she was moved to see families playing together and the excitement European crowds greeted toy and game designers. Two years later, she'd founded the Chicago Toy & Game Fair at Navy Pier. Chicago is Toy & Game Inventing Capital of the World, where many beloved playthings such as Beanie Babies, Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots and TMX Elmo were created. Couzin continues to throw an annual two-day extravaganza the weekend before Thanksgiving. Along with international guests, inventors of classics such as Bop It, Operation, Twister, Nerf and Jenga gather to sign copies of their famous creations. Giant toys and games, interactive exhibits, STEM activities, tournaments, costumed characters, stage events, Young Inventor and Young Tech Challenges and costumed Star Wars fans gather for lunch.