• John Schoeneveld
    It was a fantastic weekend with a great atmosphere, and a joy to experience all the support and delight of the local community, the local District Council, and, most of all, the local Lions Club who voluntarily helped with set up, pack up, and throughout the weekend, with a willing 'can do' attitude.
    With Oamaru being New Zealand's "Steam-punk Capital" we encouraged exhibitors to create something with a Steam-punk flavour, and had the local Steam-punk Society as guest judges, judging "Best Steam-punk Creation" and "Best in Show". Our local mayor, who officially opened the show for us, also gave a "Mayor's Choice" prize, and the exhibitors also voted for "Best of the Rest".

    We had a total of 1195 visitors through the door, which for a town of 14,000 people, we were very pleased with! Being Oamaru's first ever Brick Show the public had no idea what to expect, in either quality or quantity - many of them expressed a sense of amazement and awe when they came through the doors. And they loved that there were not only amazing exhibits to behold, but also bricks to get hold of and build their own creations with. 
    Our 13 exhibitors came from as far away as Dunedin (one and half hours south), and Christchurch (three and a half hours north) and also included some first-time local Oamrau exhibitors.
    For a show of only 13 contributors we had an amazing variety of displays, from trains and city to Great Ball Contraptions and Mindstorms, from Steam-punk to sewing machines, Star Wars to street scenes, from the mechanics of hefty Porsches to the magic of Harry Potter.

    Our local businesses gave wonderful sponsorship support, perhaps something one sees more often in small-town communities. Support included free poster printing and the free provision of pedestrian traffic barriers to protect our displays. We were also able to supply our VIP guests (children with disabilities) with goody bags containing movie vouchers from our local cinema Cinema, lolly bags from the local lolly factory, burger vouchers from Subway, and free LEGO polybags from our local 'The Warehouse' chainstore.
    Profits from our door sales went to Oamaru Recreation Centre's "Active Kids" Holiday Programme, making their great holiday activities accessible to struggling families.
    At this stage, we hope to run BRICKTOPIA every second year. Meanwhile keep an eye out for NZ's Southland Brick Show (April 28-29), Christchurch Brick Show (14-15 July), and Dunedin Brick Show (Oct 6-7).

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    Sara Skahill
    Employees at the Enfield office were encouraged to take a quick break from work today to celebrate the recently announced Sustainable Packaging goal and the new recyclable paper-pulp trays for Advent Calendars. The Local Community Engagement team helped us to turn these trays into planters, supplying basil, kale (ew), and spinach seeds with fresh soil and water. Also, cupcakes. 
    I'm the opposite of a green thumb, so here's hoping something will grow!

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    Francesco Spreafico
    April 14-15th ItLUG held not one but two important events in Italy: "Mattoncini in Villa", in the town of Villa di Serio (near Bergamo) and "Mattoncini in città", in the town of Udine, in north-eastern Italy.
    "Mattoncini in Villa" was at its third edition, and to the two classic gyms we used in the past for the exhibition, a third one was added this year, and it really helped with the children play area and with the flow of visitors. At the event we displayed our two community projects built last year, the reproduction of the "Centro Piacentiniano" of Bergamo (for the first time so close to its "hometown", Bergamo), and the "Pirellone", the reproduction, almost 2 meters tall, of the historical Milan skyscraper, that is generally in display inside the actual building (it's back there now, if you happen to pass by, right at the entrance). Besides these big projects we also had dozens of other MOCs and activities for the public and for AFOLs (like a LEGO® Serious Play course).

    "Centro Piacentiniano" of Bergamo

    "Pirellone", the historical Milan skyscrape
    Complete Flickr album for Mattoncini in Villa.
    The other event of the week-end was "Mattoncini in città" in Udine, also at its third edition. We had many great creations there too (some of which recently seen in the Kockice event in Croatia), just let me point out the amazing 1960s train display, with a huge brick-built LEGO Gnome/Mascot and all its little "brothers". 

    1960s train display

    LEGO Gnome/Mascot
    Complete Flickr album for Mattoncini in città.

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    Jan Beyer
    This weekend I visited BrickCan in Vancouver, BC, Canada. It was a fantastic experience being back to North America after around 10 years and feeling so welcome.
    The event is stunning and very cozy -     around 250 great and super friendly AFOLs - I felt after the first day that I have made 250 new friends!
    I had the opportunity to meet with all 5 West Coast Convention Owners to discuss programs and future plans as well as meeting with 7 Ambassadors.
    This was truely inspiring.
    The event has a lot of very exciting and funny game and socializing activies, very interesting speeches and presentations as well as great MOCs on display.
    I enjoyed my trip very very much and I cannot give enough thanks to the organizing Crew around John Langrish, Allan Corbeil and Robin Sather and all participants for this awesome and wonderful experience and great time!
    I can strongly recommend to visit BrickCan - I will be back for sure!!!

    Kevin Thomas | SEALUG
    The Seattle Lego Users Group (SEALUG) was invited to Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) to display for the seventh year! ECCC is the third largest comic convention in the USA and draws 100,000+ people over a 4 day period to the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle, WA. ECCC is about comics as well as everything related to science-fiction (sci-fi), fantasy, TV, movies, animation, artists, actors, and pop culture. The MOC’s that we created reflect that diversity!
    We were provided with 8000 square feet of display space and we had several local LEGO vendors (secondary market) set up nearby selling minifigures, collectible sets, and other LEGO items. This year we had a Kid’s Build Zone where families had access to loose brick to build anything to their hearts desire!
    SEALUG partnered with other LEGO User Groups in the area, such as Architecture Lego Users Group (ARCHLUG) and South Puget Sound Lego User Group (SPSLUG) to provide a wide display of LEGO MOC’s and mosaics. We had close to 70 participants across all the LUG’s with SEALUG providing the majority at over 50!
    Each year the displays change due to what’s “hot” in sci-fi/fantasy, movies, TV, and comic books and that’s the beauty of coming to our event year over year as you never know what you’ll see or find! Some noteworthy displays are highlighted below!

    Mark Andaya’s mosaic from the Disney movie “Coco!” The mosaic be on display later this year at the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet, a Disney Fan Event!

    Right next to Mark’s mosaic was Steve Oakes display of “Cap’n Crunch”

    Next to Steve’s display was Anu Pehrson’s rice plantation inspired by the LEGO Ninjago movie!

    Carlyle Livingston and Caleb Watson’s “Empire Strikes Back” scene was definitely a crowd pleaser!

    The Brothers Brick sponsored at new collaborative city build based upon the LEGO Ninjago movie as well. We expect a larger display in October at BrickCon 2018!

    Here’s David Frank standing behind his “Starcraft II” MOC!

    Finally, Bre Burn’s Technic pinball machine was another huge hit of the show.

    Lastly, “it takes a village” to put on this event like this each year. I would like to personally thank the following people:
    ·         RJ Coughlin who has been our ECCC coordinator for the last seven years. He does a great job of coordinating with ECCC, the builders, and the LUG’s!
    ·         Geoff Vleck of Geoff Vlcek Photography who was our official photographer for ECCC this year. Here’s the link to where you can find more pictures from ECCC by Geoff Vlcek.
    Last and not least, THANKS to the entire team for this year’s ECCC!
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    Tim Howell
    For the last few years, TexLUG-Houston has done several activities with a local children’s hospital.  These include displays of built models, and sessions where we build and play with patients and their families.
    We were contacted by a representative from the hospital in late 2015 and asked if we would be interested in doing activities with patients.   The hospital had recently received a large donation of LEGO® sets and the staff were looking for “experts” to help out.  TexLUG-Houston immediately agreed.
    About once a month a few members of our LUG will go to the hospital for a two-hour session.  The parts are put out on a countertop in the recreation room; patients and their families can come in, then build and play however they want.  We don’t force anything – we just let the kids play at their own pace, help find parts, give encouragement, and make suggestions when asked.  Parents usually say they don’t want to build anything ... but after a few minutes it’s just too tempting and they start sticking pieces together.
    Hospital privacy rules prevent us from taking pictures of the patients and families, but you can see a few photos of things they have built in this Flickr album.

    In addition to the play sessions, about twice a year we do a display at the hospital.  We set up on a wide pedestrian bridge connecting two parts of the facility.  For 5-6 hours during the day patients, family, and staff walk by and see all the models.  We may have a few stock sets, but most of the display consists of original MOCs. 

    Staff members bring patients out of their rooms just to see the display.  Families take their time, stopping at each table to look at every model.  Doctors, nurses, and technicians slow down and look as they walk by.  We are told that on these days there is an extra “buzz” throughout the hospital: “The LEGO® masters are here!  You need to go see them!”  By our estimate, at least 2,500 people see the display each time.  Photos of these displays can be found in Flickr albums here and here.  You can also check out our website at http://www.texlughouston.com.

    Time in a hospital can be difficult for anyone, especially children.  TexLUG-Houston is proud of the little bit we can do to help alleviate the boredom and discomfort.  We plan on continuing these activities for a long time into the future.
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    Dana Knudson
    For the last 6 years, DixieLUG has been invited to display at The Model Train Show held every Spring in Atlanta. The show is primarily a display of HO scale model electric trains and vendors. While not your typical LEGO destination event, our display is always a big hit and stands out among the train displays. Our display covers 18 tables, (each table is roughly 102 cm x 102 cm), with the majority dedicated to the town and trains. This year we also included a Moonbase section with a Monorail. 
    The display was contributed to by 13 of our LUG members. The great thing about this kind of display is the variety of builds and that each time we display, it always has a new look to it. While we do have some official sets in the display, the majority of the display is filled up with MOCs. The big centerpiece this year was the addition of a suspension bridge and a multi-highway interchange, which is modeled after Atlanta's own Spaghetti Junction. The highway is massive! Our setup time was only 4 hours on Friday night. The roadway was barely  assembled in that time. Luckily, we had some extra time before the show opened in the morning to add the cars and details. While the display as a whole is impressive to walk up to, it is the details that people walk away talking about. There are lots of nods to pop culture and a few special effects in the mix. Our house on fire has a water vaporizer inside to give the effect of smoke coming out of the top. 

    While not as massive as our Town display, our Moonbase gets lots of attention from fans, too. Who doesn't love a Monorail? The Modular Moonbase Standard has been around for a while, but you don't see it displayed many places. Our LUG has plenty of space nuts that we can throw together a pretty impressive Moonbase display. This Moonbase display was done by only 3 of our members. I am pretty sure when we have full participation we could almost rival our Town display. I'm hoping we can do that sometime this fall. *fingers crossed*

    Funny thing about the Monorail . . . most of the kids viewing the display had never seen a LEGO Monorail before. It's great to see that even a new generation loves the appeal of the Monorail. 
    More photos from the event can be found on Flickr.
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    Roy Gal - HILUG
    The Hawaii Lego Users Group (HILUG) held our first “Brick Party” at SALT At Our Kaka’ako in October 2017, and our third and latest event was an Easter Brick Party on March 18th. The most recent event included four components: a display of MOCs from club members, a Lego “fire walk” across 8 linear feet of 2x4 bricks from our Activity Brick Boxes, a spring/Easter themed building contest, and a partially LEGO model of Honolulu’s new rail transit system bought in by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART). 

    We tried something new for the building contest this time. Usually, we have attendees build from our club brick, submit an entry form together with their creation, and then our members choose their favorite creations to award prizes. Sometimes this means adult builders are competing against little kids, and even though we consider age, it can be hard to choose the winners. At this event, each person submitting an entry chose a plastic Easter egg from a basket. If the egg contained a gold Lego brick, they won a prize - a Lego set pulled from our annual LUG support shipment. Every egg had a candy inside so nobody went home empty handed. This worked great and we had over 100 entries, and some very happy winners!
    Since our founding in 2013, HILUG, has been an almost all-ages LUG. Our youngest members have been 9 years old, and some have grown with us into their teens. We’ve also been very community oriented, partnering with local organizations like the Honolulu Zoo, Bishop Museum, Institute for Astronomy, Boys Club, and other non-profits to enhance their events, always at no cost to our partners. 
    As a result, we’ve met lots of families who love playing with Lego bricks, but don’t have the time or aren’t dedicated enough builders to join a LUG. They often ask how they can interact with us on a regular basis. We decided to try to have quarterly “open” meetings - free events focused on play opportunities for the public and displays of some of our MOCs. 
    Around the same time we thought of hosting these quarterly events, a new shopping and dining area called SALT At Our Kaka’ako (http://www.saltatkakaako.com) opened. SALT has, among its shops and restaurants, a large atrium area for public events. We contacted their management, explained what we wanted to do, and they enthusiastically partnered with us, providing marketing services, tables, parking, and media coverage.
    Our partnership with SALT has been very beneficial. Their marketing team has brought in local media to all three of our events there, resulting in TV news coverage for the first two (https://www.facebook.com/hawaiilug/videos/699673606903615/ and http://www.kitv.com/story/37000223/fresh-snow-and-lego-takes-over-holiday-theme-parties-in-kakaako), and a photo spread in the largest local newspaper for the Easter event (http://www.staradvertiser.com/2018/03/19/tgif/tgif-photos/easter-parade/). We’ve also found some new members and developed a following of people who attend these events regularly. And partnering with HART, we are developing a larger all-Lego scale model of part of Honolulu’s upcoming rail transit system. 
    We love being out in the community and these regularly scheduled events are a great way to do it!
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    Jan Beyer
    This weekend I visit the Kockice Convention in a small city near Croatias capital Zagreb.
    It is the first time that Ed Petrac and his team pull this international event off and it seems to be quite a success from the start with almost 80 participants from 13 different countries.
    So it is a weekend of fun and seeing old friends and making new together with a public exhibition of fantastic MOCs.
    I attach some pictures I took earlier today.
    The events website is http://convention.kockice.hr/.
    So I really hope that this event grows and will see many more AFOLs from all over the world in the years to come.
    Thanks so much to Ed, Marin and all other involved for making this great event happen!
    It is a true pleasure to join.