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Thursday, November 19 2015 01:24

Five Things to Look Forward to at the 2015 Chicago Toy & Game Fair

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This weekend, the 13th annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair (ChiTAG) returns to Navy Pier in Chicago for two days of fun, Saturday, November 21, 2015 and Sunday, November 22, 2015. Having covered ChiTAG extensively here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine for the past four years of its run, I've taken a look at this year's schedule and floor plan to highlight five things that we're looking forward to this weekend. With hundreds of participants, there's some familiar faces and some fresh ones that will be exhibiting some of 2015's hottest toys and games (several of which are in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide), appropriately just ahead of Thanksgiving Week and the infamous Black Friday shopping kick-off. Here's a few things to check out... and yes, there will be STAR WARS.

Spin Master Toys: Over the past few years, Spin Master has quickly emerged as one of the Top Five toymakers in the world. From what I've seen first-hand here at Rock Father HQ, Spin Master's success can be attributed to innovation, fun brands, quality and a true passion for play.

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Having made a big splash at ChiTAG last year, the Spin Master crew is back in Chicago as a premiere sponsor of ChiTAG, and they're rolling into the event with one of the top holiday toys on my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide - the PAW Patrol PAW Patroller.  But that's not all! They'll have their life-sized PAW Patroller at Navy Pier (along with Chase & Rubble), and will be showing off toys from LITTLE CHARMERS, MECCANO, KINETIC SAND, AIR HOGS and more. 

TONKA + Funrise Toys: Another favorite here at Rock Father HQ, TONKA is rolling into Chicago with a life-sized truck at the center of the Funrise Toys booth. Their timeless vehicles are created under license from Hasbro, including their expanding diecast collection (a Holiday Wish Guide featured pick!) and their iconic yellow classics.

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Funrise doesn't just do TONKA, though - they've got the adorable, collectible Stackins, Gazillion Bubbles and more, along with some licensed offerings from MY LITTLE PONY and LITTLEST PET SHOP.

Uncle Milton: A newcomer to ChiTAG this year, Uncle Milton is known for their fantastic science kits (STAR WARS Science Kits are BIG right now), and a couple of items like their Jedi Holocron (a Holiday Wish Guide pick!) and their light-up Wall Friends have been big hits with The Rock Daughters. In fact, their National Geographic Explorer's Torch was just getting played with again the other night. With innovative products and licenses from Disney, MARVEL and more, there's a lot for kids of all ages to love. They even made one of 2015's most perfect movie tie-ins... the ANT-MAN Ant Farm!

BERG USA: If you've never had the chance to ride (or drive) a BERG pedal car, you're missing out. In fact, you don't have to be a little kid to enjoy them, as BERG makes cars in "Rock Father size" as well - complete with child seats attached (if you want such a thing).

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Last year, BERG rolled into ChiTAG with a full indoor track set up, and this year they're back! Yes, the cars are on the pricey side, but they're built to last and are a ton of fun. There's even licensed models that incorporate design elements borrowed from Jeep, Ford, Ferrari, John Deere, Case, and New Holland.

501st Legion Midwest Garrison: With STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS opening in theaters in less than a month, the presence of The Resistance and The First Order will most certainly be felt in Chicago this weekend.

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The leading STAR WARS costuming group will be back at ChiTAG (they even have a STAR WARS lunch) with a variety of characters representing numerous factions from the growing STAR WARS Saga, and the members of the 501st have always been a highlight for our girls.

#ChevyShopsForGood

Bonus: Chevrolet - A sponsor of ChiTAG, the folks from Chevy will have several new vehicles on display at Navy Pier this weekend.... and our family will be driving one of them (a 2016 Chevy Equinox)! For the second year in a row, THE ROCK FATHER Magazine is working with Chevrolet to spread a little holiday cheer to those in need (read about last year's effort here), and rumor has it some other writers are getting in on the action as well. Follow the hashtag #ChevyShopsForGood on the social networks to learn more about what we're all up to!

For information and tickets to the 2015 Chicago Toy & Game Fair, check out http://www.chitagfair.com/

For more of the Hottest Toys & Holiday Gift Ideas, check out THE ROCK FATHER's Holiday Wish Guide

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, a writer for the Netflix #StreamTeam, and serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. Current special projects include promotional campaigns for PJ Masks (eOne/Disney Junior) and Beat Bugs (Netflix). 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for Napalm Records' PRODUCT OF HATE.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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