Toyota goes to Eat Real Oakland

Yesterday I attended the Eat Real Oakland festival in Jack London Square.   I was in foodie heaven, sampling all the amazing dishes and wandering through rows and rows of artisanal cheese, chocolate, bread, spices and more.  The place was packed with people enjoying good food -- but it must have been a nightmare for parents navigating through the crowds with a stroller, and it must have been pretty boring for kids who wanted something to do other than look at jars of jams and bottles of microbrew.

Fortunately one of the presenting sponsors, Toyota, had a great booth -- the Creation Station -- at a less crowded section of the festival where families could stretch out and enjoy family-friendly activities between courses.  Since I'm a member of Toyota's TWIN (Women's Influencer Network) group, of course I had to check it out!

Since this summer, Toyota has been using the Creation Station as a way to showcase their family-friendly vehicles like the 2013 Avalon, the Highlander, Highlander Hybrid Limited, Landcruiser, RAV4 EV, Prius v, Prius Plug-in, Prius c, Sienna and Yaris models.  It's a great way to see how these models can fit into families' lifestyles -- without the annoying sales pressure that you have to endure at an auto showroom.  The Toyota Creation Station team did a great job of getting attendees to check out the vehicles via some fun activities:

Toyota Entune Demo
Attendees could ask Toyota personnel at the booth about Entune, Toyota's revolutionary in-car technology featuring popular mobile applications and data services.

Toyota Cargo Challenge
Attendees could form teams of up to four people and pack a bunch of items into the back of a Prius V.  The quicker you can do it, the better, because you could win prizes!

Toyota 3D Photo Booth
You could get your photo taken while sitting inside a Toyota Prius.  Actually, they snapped 2 photos of you, then combined the 2 photos into a singular lenticular 3D photo that "moves" as you tilt the photo in 2 directions.  It was such a cool souvenir!

After completing each activity, you get a stamp on your card.  When you get at least 1 stamp on your card, you can play their Giant Dice Game, where you roll a giant (beach-ball sized!) pair of dice, and win a prize corresponding to the number you roll.  You get as many rolls as you have stamps on your card (so if you did all 3 activities, you got 3 dice rolls and 3 prizes).

At the Kids' Craft area, kids could create Spin Art Cards....

.. and make Shrinky Dinks.  Remember those?  Toyota had a bunch of cute designs for kids (and grownups!) to color in, then they punched a hole in them, baked them in a toaster oven and hung them on a string.

 Everyone likes having activities and freebies, and there was no sales pitch,  so I think Toyota did a good job combining brand promotion with entertainment.   I guess I'm not the only one with that opinion, because there was a good-sized crowd at the Creation Station -- big enough to attract the interest of passers-by, but not overbearing.  Just the right combination for a festival!

You can check out Toyota's Creation Station at these upcoming family-friendly festivals:
Sept. 28-30: Brooklyn, NY at Dumbo Arts Festival
Oct. 26-28: Denver, CO at Boo at the Zoo
Nov. 23-25: Rancho Cucamonga, CA at Bass Pro Shops
Dec. 1: San Diego, CA at Miramar Children's Christmas Carnival

Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of Toyota.

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