A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Brickworld Chicago. Here are some of my highlights from the awesome displays and engaging sessions.
Aside from Tormod’s amazing LEGO Ambassador Network session 😉 I was happy to catch Simon Liu’s TFOL roundtable. Simon is great at giving young fans a forum to talk about how they approach community and what it means in their lives. It was great seeing a couple “generations” of former TFOLs there to encourage them including Chris Maddison (a good friend from my own TFOL days long ago), Tyler Clites, and Nannan Zhang. I plan to bring the insights from this session into LEGO IDEAS and our AFOL Engagement department.
It was so awesome to meet a few IDEAS members face to face and check out their product ideas on display:
- Tiny House by Daniel Barwegen
- Black Falcon’s Fortress by Mark Erickson
- Coraline’s Pink Palace Apartments by Holly Webster
- Crash Bandicoot by Jarren Harkema
- Falconhurst Treehouse by Tim Stone
- Pop-Up Book co-creator Grant Davis
- And finally a couple of the originals – Glen Wadleigh (GlenBricker) and Ellen Kooijman (Alatariel) from The Big Bang Theory and Research Institute sets.
On the display side, a few favorites were:
- CincyLUG’s train layout. Their buildings really captured the feel of a midwestern downtown for me. They didn’t over-extend themselves and kept the layout simple with ballast on baseplates and beautiful trains to compliment the buildings.
- Terry Akuna’s Airship. Yes, that’s an actual flying, motorized, radio controlled airship. Great case of building a model with LEGO bricks and augmenting with other motors and electronics.
- Henley Street Bridge. I love infrastructure. This bridge was clean and included several modes of transportation and recreation in a clean cross-section.
- I was most impressed by James Burrows’ Jurassic Park roller coaster built using CoasterDynamix. It was fast, had multiple loops, and operated two trains simultaneously. He told me that it took him three weeks of full time building.
Tormod, Yun Mi, Johnny, and I also had the privilege of being the first inside Adam Reed Tucker’s Blocks to Bricks museum. WOW! What an incredible tribute to construction models and building toys, celebrating the history of the building block that led to the LEGO brick and beyond. Adam's vast collection dates back to stone architectural blocks from the 1800’s and features his own wood and cardboard models as an architecture student. Blocks to Bricks is worth a trip to Chicago, where you can pair it with a visit to the Chicago Architecture Foundation and an architectural river boat tour.
Chicago is my home, so I’ve been attending Brickworld off and on since the beginning. It was great to be back after missing two years in a row. I missed the M:TRON collaborative display though. Next year, bring back the power of magnets!
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