LEGO. The word alone is enough to set geek hearts aflutter. But how about LEGO en masse? That’s what we found at BrickCon 2011 in Seattle. My sixteen-year-old TFOL (Teen Fan of LEGO) petitioned for vacation plans to include Seattle in early October so that he could attend, and we managed to make it work. He and I attended the private event for registered attendees on Friday, and the whole family came along for the Saturday public event.
On Friday, serious LEGO builders gathered to set up their displays and participate in building challenges. My son’s first order of business was to recreate the MOC (my own creation) that he’d transported across the Pacific in a suitcase. With careful packing, it arrived intact and he only needed to reassemble some smaller sections into one larger display. Then we were off to see the other LEGO creations on display in the hall. Divided up by themed categories, the large exhibition hall at Seattle Center featured cityscapes, castles, heavy equipment, cars, light-up dioramas, and so much more. We toured the hall repeatedly, each time seeing something new (check my photos, below, for a peek at some of our favorites). My son signed up for the “blind build” for which players are given a boxed set and asked to follow the instructions to build the complete set without seeing it. The fastest players move on the the next round.
Based on my two-day observations, I can say without a doubt that LEGO fandom crosses a great cross-section of humanity. Yoga pants and LEGO hoodies stand side by side admiring LEGO models based on a moment in history or a figment of someone’s imagination. Youth and adults mingle together, discussing their passion and shopping at a variety of booths offering apparel, weaponry, vintage LEGO, and more. And when the public was invited into the hall, countless young minds were inspired to try their hand at creating something outside the LEGO box.