Schleich USA is celebrating their 85th anniversary with a celebration that is larger than life. The leading manufacturer of animal figurines debuted a Times Square billboard featuring imaginative stories shared by thousands of fans throughout the year. Also highlighted are newly unveiled photos from famed toy photographer Mitchel Wu who helped depict stories shared through a contest  that asked fans to share stories inspired by imaginative playtime with Schleich.

“Schleich figurines and playsets inspire open-ended, imaginative play, but we know that what parents see is very different from what children see when engaged in this critical type of play,” said Annie Laurie Zomermaand, Chief Commercial Officer for Schleich USA. “We’ve received thousands of stories from fans over the last 12 months, and are thrilled to celebrate their imaginations at the crossroads of the world!”

After receiving hundreds of amazing video stories earlier this fall, Paxton, age 7 from Missouri, Addison age 13 from California and JoJo age 7 from Maryland were named the winners following a public vote. Visit Schleich’s Power of Imagination campaign page to see their entry videos, reactions and the photos created by Wu.

Since the winners and Schleich’s global fans were unable to travel to New York City to see the billboard, Schleich hosted a virtual viewing party, led by Patti Murin who originated the role of Anna in Disney’s Frozen on Broadway. Families from around the world joined Murin virtually to sing, dance, meet the contest winners and watch the billboard live from Times Square.

Schleich’s yearlong celebration of imagination kicked off at New York Toy Fair, where Wu unveiled a series of photographs bringing to life imaginative stories shared by kids. Then in June, more than 5,000 kids from around the world submitted their own photos depicting the rich, immersive details and fantastic stories of their imaginations.

Fans can still watch a livestream of the Times Square billboard and a recording of the virtual viewing party on Schleich’s Instagram and Facebook pages. 

—Jennifer Swartvagher

Featured photo: Schleich Stories via YouTube

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