Follow the Sun to ToyFest West

In just a few days, the 2018 edition of ToyFest West, the annual trade show of the Western Toy and Hobby Representatives Association (WTHRA), will begin in Las Vegas. The long-running annual event will present new product launches from more than 600 manufacturers.

The exhibit hall at the South Point Casino and Hotel will open Sunday, March 11, at 10 a.m. On Monday, it’s open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

ToyFest West kicks off Sunday morning at 8:30 with an educational session called “Trend Predictions,” presented by Steve Starobinsky. The vice president of marketing and product discovery at Diverse Marketing will discuss retro gaming, the return of the ’90s (Bedazzling, “Saved by the Bell,”), licenses to watch, and more.

That evening at the Gala Dinner, WTHRA will induct four industry veterans into its Hall of Fame: sales rep Harry Clayton, retailer Leonard Lieberman, distributor Eugene McKeown, and retail buyer Manny Rocha. In addition, The Wee Loft toy store based in Dana Point will be recognized as Store of the Year. All show participants are invited to attend.

On Monday morning, March 12, a panel discussion will be held on customer service, customer loyalty, product training and employee retention. Participants include retailers Jenny Bouma, owner of Chicken Little; Jeremy Cain from Puzzle Zoo; and Melissa Moore, owner of Toy Crazy. Betsy Molito, west coast account executive of Gifts and Decorative Accessories will moderate.

Game Night, a popular ToyFest West tradition, will take place at 6:30 p.m. Games from the following companies will be available for demo: ACD Games, Blue Orange Games, Carma Games, Continuum Games, Czech Game Edition, Endless Games, Enginuity Games, Family Games America, Outset, HABA, KnucknFutz, Northstar Games, PlayMonster, Smart Toys and Games, Thames & Kosmos, Top Trumps and Winning Moves. Dinner and drinks are provided by WTHRA.

For every order written during the three-day show, buyers receive a ticket from manufacturers for a chance to participate in a Daily Raffle for up to $850. Attendees who follow ToyFest West on social media will receive three raffle tickets.

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