2013 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards

While working in-house for the trade association for the North American toy industry, The TAGS Group founder Stacy Leistner produced the annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards, a 600+ person celebration that recognized the best toys of the year in 12 categories, inducted honorees into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame, and raised funds for the industry's foundation.  Leistner and  his in-house team managed all aspects of the awards nomination and selection process; planning for the 2013 event was supported by a team of industry volunteers, association staff and the event production company, Sequence Events.

About the 2013 Event
The 2013 Toy of the Year awards began with a winter chill as guests arrived at the iconic Plaza Hotel while remnants of a snowstorm were still being cleared away.  Greeters adorned in white flanked the red carpet as guests made their way into the Palm Court where butlers were pouring champagne and attendees mingled among displays of the year's TOTY contenders.  Following a 'classic' dinner reception, attendees were offered theatre treats as they made their way up to a Cirque du Soleil-inspired 'dream world' ... living statues gracefully beckoned guests to enter and butterfly dancers floated among the guests.  Masked ushers, nymphs, jugglers, contortionists and the conductor of a ghost orchestra ushered audience members into the theatre for a baroque opening that celebrated the "invigorating energy of youth."  Shadow performances introduced each of the award presentations and students from the LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts dedicated a musical tribute to one of the honorees.   As guests made their way to the lower level for the post-ceremony dessert reception, they were transported back to a 1920s era classic rendition of The Plaza's ageless charm.