ASTRA Toy Boat sets sail for Winter Show 2023 [UPDATED] • The Book of Toys

A toy boat | Source: Adobe Stock

Originally published March 14, 2022, 3:00 PM ET | Updated: March 15, 2022, 12:46 p.m. ET

Sit down right away and you’ll hear a story – the story of a toy show on a boat.

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has revealed plans to set sail next year with the ASTRA toy boat. The floating show will take place in open waters in what ASTRA says is “a hot place” from February 20-24, 2023.

ASTRA says the decision to hold a show in February was prompted by the reimagining of Toy Fair New York to make it a fall show starting next year. ASTRA Toy Boat does not replace the traditional market and academy.

“During our in-person board meeting this weekend at the end of ToyFest West in Las Vegas, our board of directors reflected on this innovative format for a winter toy fair that will combine a focus on new products at the start of the year, commissioning – writing, relationship building and lots of family fun,” said ASTRA President Sue Warfield.

Beyond trade, ASTRA says it hopes to combine a traditional toy industry trade show experience with a community element by inviting families to come aboard and interact directly with toy and game makers.

Following the Toy Association‘s decision to revamp Toy Fair New York, ASTRA sent out a survey to members and non-members. The organization says the main takeaways were that the industry wants an in-person show in February focused on new products at the start of the year. ASTRA says that “the ASTRA toy boat meets all these needs and combines them with the possibility of making it a family vacation”.

Since the initial publication of this article, Warfield has offered answers to questions that have emerged over the past 24 hours. She says:

  • This does not replace Marketplace & Academy 2023. ASTRA is already booked for Columbus, Ohio, June 11-14, 2023.
  • ASTRA Toy Boat does not replace any other fair – it is a completely new experience. Warfield says the event will have hangout areas for TGTG, Learning Express and ToyFest West in a bid to unite the specialist industry under one roof.
  • ASTRA Toy Boat was created in response to the survey sent to members and non-members. The overall response showed that they wanted something to happen during the traditional Toy Fair New York period in February.
  • ASTRA Toy Boat will not be a ‘normal’ trade show, but rather a new product show with the ability to work with retailers for new and existing product orders.
  • It will only be a 4 day cruise with only one full day at sea.
  • ASTRA will not have the entire ship, allowing it to spread the ASTRA brand to consumers. This may involve setting up a game or gaming session for consumers on board.

Full details on the ASTRA toy boat, including the cruise ship supplier and all associated prices, will be revealed in the weeks and months to come.

The next sold-out show, ASTRA Marketplace & Academy, is scheduled to take place in Long Beach, CA from June 12-15, 2022.