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Dallas Market Center announces The Next Big Thing finalists

DALLAS - Dallas Market Center has announced the finalists of The Next Big Thing, a national product search contest - Lawn Lights, Maggies and Tady Tote. The finalists will exhibit before attendees from all 50 states and more than 78 countries during the upcoming Dallas Temp Show, to be held June 20-23 (with staggered opening and closed dates) during the Total Home & Gift Market, June 19-25.

The three finalists are:

Lawn Lights, founder Mark Halter, Washington, Ind.

Lawn Lights is an illuminated outdoor decoration that blankets a large area in lights, doing for lawns what net lights do for bushes and shrubs. Lawn Lights are primarily used at Christmas, but can be used for weddings and other special occasions. Users can create a unique nighttime display in a short time by unrolling the string of LED lights in arcs, loops or semi-circles and staking them in the ground. No tools, ladders, extension cords or staples are needed. Each set of 36 lights can cover roughly 1,600 to 3,600 square feet depending on how far apart the lights are set. For more information, visit www.lawnlights.com.

Maggies, founder Margaret Sinclair, Mabank, Texas

Maggies are a patented magnetic textile fastener which are powerful and allow several layers of fabric to be secured without slipping. Ideal for shawls, scarves and sarongs, they hold as securely as stitching and are very simple to use. Maggies offer a simple solution for women of all ages who enjoy looking their best and wearing clothing in new and unique ways. For more information, visit www.mymaggies.com.

Tady Tote, founder Sharon Soloway, Tucson, Ariz.

Tady Tote provides a large, indoor/outdoor cushioned area for a child to play on, from infant rolling around to naps at preschool and beyond. Tady Tote converts from bag to mat instantly and has waterproof backing and a snuggly teddy bear blanket that is removable and easy to launder. Large enough for parent and child, Tady Tote also has pockets for baby bottles and snacks. Toys and other items can be left on the mat - users simply fold and go. For more information, visit www.tadytote.com.

The Next Big Thing contest received dozens of applications from product designers, entrepreneurs and other creative minds from across the country and internationally. The contest allows up-and-comers, whether companies or individuals, to show their product in front of domestic and international retail buyers at Dallas Market Center.

Judges from consumer and trade media as well as industry experts and a former winner will help select the winner based on the finalists' products. In addition, the public will have a chance to vote to show their support for their favorite product on the Dallas Market Center Facebook page by "liking" the photo of the finalist of their choice in "The Next Big Thing 2013 Finalists" Facebook album. Popular voting will begin Wednesday, May 1 and run through Wednesday, June 12. The winner will be selected based on a combination of judges' feedback and popular vote.

The Next Big Thing winner will be announced Saturday, June 22 and receive a prize package worth more than $12,500 including a $2,500 cash prize. The package includes exhibit space at the Dallas Temp Show in January 2014, a profile in Dallas Market Center's award-winning custom publication and consultations from industry experts regarding branding, marketing, public relations, visual merchandising and more.

For information on past winners or additional information on the contest, visit www.dallasmarketcenter.com/thing or email thenextbigthing@mcmcmail.com.

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