The 2nd Annual Minnesota Toy Fair is this Saturday, November 8th at Peapods Natural Toys in St. Paul from 10:00am – 1:00pm!
At this fun event for the whole family, you can meet local toy makers and designers including Fairy Finery, Dundry Hill, Mindware, Beka, dollmaker Donyelle Headington, and Sweet Pea & Co. Also featured will be YOXO – check out my review from my recent visit to their factory!
Some highlights of this event:
- Play tables will be set up with Mindware’s KEVA planks, YOXO toys, and Beka maple unit blocks.
- Free coffee and fresh donuts
- Plus, enter to win a locally-made prize basket with every $20 purchase and you’ll earn double Peapods Rewards points for each local toy purchased.
I interviewed Dan Marshall, co-owner of Peapods, to find out the inside scoop on this unique event that kicks off the holiday season.
1) The Minnesota Toy Fair sounds like such a fun event. Sounds like there will be lots of hands-on opportunities for kids to try out locally made toys that inspire creativity. Would you tell me a little about the different businesses you’ll be featuring?
Yes, I think the Toy Fair will be a lot of fun! It’s a real pleasure for us to bring together these diverse local toymakers, some of whom are new and others whom we’ve been working with for years.
Beka, for example, is a small family business on Selby Avenue in St. Paul. They make maple blocks, easels, train tables, and push wagons for us. We’ve been selling their toys for almost 16 years now. Jamie Kreisman and his son Jon have been very supportive of our store.
Fairy Finery, which is run by Susan Berns in Golden Valley, makes wonderful dress-up clothes and hats. We’ve been working with Susan for many years, too. Fairy Finery is one of only a few dress-up companies that manufactures in the USA and her outfits are known for their quality and durability. Fairy Finery hats and dresses usually get passed down from sister to friend to friend’s bother, etc.
Mindware is based in Roseville and is the maker of KEVA Planks. Mindware has a huge catalog of toys they’ve designed, many of which we carry. We have a special fondness for their KEVA Planks, though, which are a unique wooden building toy with huge play value. Little kids can stack them up as towers and older kids can make complex bridges and arches.
YOXO toys are one of our newer suppliers. Based in St. Paul, YOXO is a unique system of construction links that can create marvelous robots, giant dragonflies, or cool dune buggies. We really like YOXO because it is a very open-ended toy that even encourages kids to find other materials like paper towel tubes or cereal box cardboard to add to their creations.
Dundry Hill mobiles, which are made in Minneapolis, are simply beautiful. Made from thick European felt, Dundry Hill’s airplanes and birds appear to be flying around the room. We love their colors, too!
Sweet Pea & Co. makes cotton skirts for babies and toddlers in St. Paul as well as hand-printed baby onesies. Our favorite design is their “Minnesota Nice” onesie.
2) Would you say there’s been an increase in interest and demand for these unique toys and why?
Yes, I think demand for locally-made toys is growing. The internet has made almost every consumer product ubiquitous and buying locally-made is just about the only way to find something truly unique. Also, people like making a connection between a toy and the person who made it, to know a little of the story behind it.
3) Will there be any special deals or discounts at this event?
Yes, for the Minnesota Toy Fair all of our locally-made toys will earn double “Peapods Rewards” points, which is our frequent buyer program. We’ll also be serving free donuts and coffee.
4) What is Plaid Friday, when is it and how will you be participating?
Yes, black friday is just around the corner and this year ours will be plaid, too! We also offer a whole bunch of awesome deals on black friday and this year will be no different. However, we’re working with several other local businesses to build on the Plaid Friday theme, so we’re thinking we’ll have some special deals related to buying local. Stay tuned!