By Jennifer R Jones | Posted on February 15, 2010 10:30 AM
Technically Barbie may be in her dotage, but this year she also has a new career as a TV news anchor (her 125th--she's fickle, that girl.) She comes, of course, with the all-important desk and microphone. The word comes from New York’s Toy Fair, which opened yesterday and runs through Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Javits Center. While the general public doesn’t have access to the show, many of the toys will become available by the end of the year. The event showcases the toys that are destined to be under the tree next Christmas, and presages the bestsellers throughout the year. From Lego we’ll see new Duplo building blocks aimed at younger kids, as well as new Mindstorm robots. And a new updated version of Chinese checkers is being released by toy company Pressman (what can they possibly do to it??). With the economy the way it is, more families are rediscovering game night, so their timing is canny. More than 1,100 exhibiting toy manufacturers, distributors and agents set up shop at the event, which feeds into the $75 billion toy industry; almost 32,000 people from almost 100 countries are expected to attend. It’s the largest international toy trade show in the western hemisphere. Programs throughout the week include such events as the "Toy Trends Tea”; a session on environmentalism and toys; and a guide to exporting. So even if you can’t be there, the buzz will start soon--so avoid the hassle, parents, and pick up the toys as soon as they hit the market, rather than waiting furtively on line next Christmas Eve.