15th Annual Chicago Toy and Game Week

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The winners of the 10th annual TAGIE Awards honoring innovation and excellence in the toy and game industry were recently announced at a gala on Navy Pier in Chicago. Attended by industry luminaries and sponsored by heavyweights like Hasbro, Mattel, Lego, and Cartamundi, the evening’s events included a keynote address by Gary Swisher, SVP of Inventor Relations and Head of Gaming for Mattel, and culminated with Lifetime Achievement Awards presented to industry legends Judy Blau of J. Hope Designs and Adi Golad, founder of Goliath Games.

Following is the official listing of 2017 Toy & Game Innovation Award (TAGIE) winners, nominees, and honorees:

Game Inventor of the Year

Don Ullman and Steve Calhoun, Soggy Doggy

Nominees included
• Fuse – Oliver Morris, Roller Coaster Challenge
• Jim McCafferty and JMP Creative team, Catch the Fox
• KID Group, Ultra Dash
• Seven Towns, Ltd., Who’s the Dude?
• Top Notch Toys, Fantastic Gymnastics

Toy Inventor of the Year (Sponsored by LEGO)

· David Small and Paul Rago of Shoot the Moon, BB8

Nominees included:
• Bang Zoom Design, Barbie on the Go
• Desinbytouch, Nerf Nitro
• Ronen Horovitz,
Play Doh Touch
•  Ruth Green-Synowic, Paint-Sation

Rising Star of the Year

Joyce Sprau, Flower Fairies Secret Garden

• Brady Peterson, Groovy Blocks
• Brian Gomez (Egils Grasmanis, Edgars Zakis, Janis Grunte, Reinis Butans), Ice Cool
• Dominic Yard, Thomas Adventures Sea Monster Pirate Set & Shark Escape Play Set
• Thijmen de Schipper, Spy Code Break Free

Innovative Arts & Visuals of the Year

Rory O’Connor and Anita Murphy, The Extraordinaires Design Studio

Nominees included:
• Funnybone Toys, Whim, Akin, 
Spirot, Spectracube, Anaxi, and others
• Harmonix, DropMix
•  Mattel, Enchantimals
•  MGA Entertainment, Inc., L.O.L. Surprise! Collectible Dolls


Innovative Marketing Team of the Year

Spin Master, Hatchimals

Nominees included:
• Mattel, Dads Who Play Barbie
• Hasbro, Nerf’s Dude Perfect
• Marektoy,
Klask and Bonk
• PlayMonster, Ultra Dash

Young Inventor of the Year (Sponsored by Mattel)

· Olivia Wasilewski and Brynna Siewers, Ship of Treasures

Nominees included:
• Samaira Mehta, CoderBunnyz
• Shay Bhattessa Sharma, Football Billionaire Limited
• Sydney and Toni Loew, Poketti Plushies with Pocket Powers

In addition to the winners determined through nominations and public voting, honors were given in the following closed categories:

· Hassenfeld Humanitarian Award – Lurie Children’s Hospital
· Inventor Advocate – Lisa Guili, General Manager of Educational Insights
· Lifetime Achievement (Hasbro) – Judy Blau of J. Hope Designs
· Lifetime Achievement (Sponsored by The Michael Kohner Corporation) – Adi
Golad, Founder and Managing Director of Goliath

Two of the evening’s award winners, Olivia Wasilewski and Brynna Siewers, inventors of Ship of Treasures, created an unexpected moment when they surprised fellow honoree, Lurie Children’s Hospital, with checks on behalf of themselves and Pressman Toy. The young game inventors memorialized a fellow elementary school classmate, Sophie Shields, who died earlier this year of cancer, by donating a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of their game. Their manufacturer, Pressman Toy, matched the donation.

The 2017 TAGIE Awards and Gala were presented by Mattel, Hasbro, LEGO, Spin Master, The Michael Kohner Corporation, Longshore Limited, Hassenfeld Family Initiatives with additional sponsors including Peggy Brown Creative, Cartamundi and McGill and Associates.

The annual TAGIE awards are the preeminent awards program honoring innovation and excellence in the toy and game industry. The awards program gala is held annually the Friday evening before Thanksgiving as the kickoff to the Chicago Toy and Game Week Fair, which hosted more than 30,000 consumers and industry players on Navy Pier.

About the Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.

The Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc. oversees toy industry initiatives designed to encourage and promote the power of play and invention in social, educational, and professional environments. Chicago Toy & Game (ChiTAG) Group initiatives include the Chicago Toy & Game (ChiTAG) Fair, the PlayCHIC Fashion Show, the Toy & Game Innovation of the Year (TAGIE) Awards, the Young Inventor Challenge, the New Inventor Conference, the Professional Inventors Conference, Play in Education Conference, DiscoverToyandGames.com and the Chicago Toy & Game (ChiTAG) Foundation. For more information, visit www.ChiTAG.com or email info@chitag.com.

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