The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association event was to take place in June.
After carefully monitoring the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, the board of directors of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has made the decision to cancel Marketplace & Academy 2020, originally scheduled to be held from June 7th-10th, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
Over the years, Marketplace & Academy has become the premier event for the specialty toy industry, but the organisers have made the safety and health of the toy community its number one priority and have concluded that the cancellation of the show was the best decision.
A statement reads: “The ASTRA Board of Directors and ASTRA staff care deeply about the safety and health of our members and their families. We determined there would be too great of a risk to members’ health, families and businesses by traveling in light of COVID-19. Although the in-person connections and business conducted at the show is extremely important to the ASTRA community and our industry, we ultimately decided it would be irresponsible to move forward with the show, even if it were postponed because there are too many unknowns about how the situation surrounding COVID-19 would unfold. In addition, we recognized that attending the show could present an undue financial burden during a time when many members of our community are struggling. Thank you for your patience and understanding over the past few weeks as we evaluated all factors to make this decision. We ask for your continued support as we work through next steps.”
The event will not be rescheduled for 2020, and all registration costs for attendees will be refunded. Attendees may opt to donate their registration fees, or a portion thereof, to support the ASTRA Foundation’s mission to increase the awareness of the importance of play and its impact across the lifespan.
Instead, ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy 2021 will be held from June 6th-9th, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
ASTRA has pledged to support the toy trade with information on other ways to stay connected with industry members throughout the year in an online setting.