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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