Toy Fair New York | Source: The Toy Association

It’s déjà vu and the dominoes have fallen once more: Toy Fair New York (TFNY) is canceled.

The Toy Association’s annual industry gathering was set to welcome toymakers, inventors, retail buyers, and others to the newly expanded Javits Center in Manhattan from Feb. 19-22, 2022.

Last month, concerns regarding the rapid spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant sparked fear among potential attendees as some buyers and exhibitors quietly pulled out of the event. On Dec. 22, The Toy Association doubled down on its messaging that TFNY was moving ahead under strict safety protocols to create the best possible experience for members of the toy industry and its partners — followed by a firm reassurance on Jan. 5 that it was “a go.”

Now, those plans have changed.

“Key to our efforts these past two weeks has been the balance of some 700 remaining committed toy manufacturers saying they need and want Toy Fair 2022 to build their businesses, weighing that against those departing and seriously on the fence, and needing to provide a sufficient quantity and quality across the retail buying community necessary to deliver a positive experience,” says Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of The Toy Association. “As that balance has shifted, we are obligated to make the best decision in everyone’s interest no matter how heartbreaking for so many and potentially damaging some business’ future prospects. The wide range of other events that occur across New York City during Toy Fair week are now also impacted.”

“Certainly, there are legitimate concerns around the pandemic that has guided thinking,” Pasierb continues. “Many are saying they are very comfortable with being in the Javits Center and at the show given strict health and safety protocols in place, while travel concerns and for some, staff absences due to illness at home, rightfully weigh on their minds.”

Additionally, the cancellation statement on the Toy Association website notes that despite the nearly 700 exhibitors still committed to the event, “’constant, unfounded rumors’” on social media and elsewhere defied The Toy Association’s best efforts to sustain the show amid global uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.”

The Toy Association encourages all of its partners to take advantage of its year-round Toy Fair Everywhere platform that connects retail buyers with new toys, games, and adjacent products.

While the in-person version of TFNY is sitting out another year, rest assured that Adventure Media & Events — publisher of the Toy Book, the Toy Insider, and the Pop Insider — is moving full steam ahead to showcase all the latest new products and industry insight. The annual BIG Toy Book — which usually debuts at TFNY — will still see a February release alongside the Winter ’22 issue of the Pop Insider.

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About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.