Jan 26, 2015

Our third visit to BrickFair

You guys 'member BrickFair? The LEGO version of Comic Con?

I mentioned that the BrickFair team was nice enough to send us four tickets to this year's event, and they gave me four tickets to give away to a reader, which longtime reader Amy from Millbrook, Ala., won.

We went and had a great time! As usual, the LEGO creations were mind-blowing. This was one of the first ones we came across, and it was huge.

(Over the years, I've discovered that my favorites tend to be the ones that feature water. I love those thousands of blue, green and clear LEGO thrown together at the bottom.)

The builder of this particular creation was really nice and answered all of Jake's (90) questions about his masterpiece.

These first several pictured were in the Castles section of the exhibit hall, and many of them had moving parts. This pirate ship was about four feet wide and three feet tall ... it's hard to get a proper sense of scale when there aren't any humans standing beside it.

I liked this one a lot, too ... the train was running around it, and of course IT HAD A WATER ELEMENT.

When you get closer up, it's crazy to see how detailed the builders have to get with the LEGO to get the shading right on things like rocks.

Even the train trestle was quite a work of art!

We took a break after the Castles section to snap a few pictures, because I'd been messaging with ticket-winner Amy, trying to arrange to meet her and her family. She's been reading the blog for years and years, but we'd never met.

Nathaniel was on his first-ever Boy Scout ski trip that weekend, so we just had the younger three with us. Jake was wearing gloves and a fleece jacket indoors, perhaps in solidarity with his skiing brother. (The jacket made it back home with us. The gloves did not.) (Shocking.)

Anyway, after several rounds of messaging, Amy finally found us! I didn't get a picture of her whole family (Jeremy and Jackson were enthralled by nearby LEGO creations), but here are Anderson and Amy with me. It was great to meet you, Amy!

As a side note, another blog reader saw us and introduced himself, and we took a picture with my nice camera BEFORE discovering that there was no memory card in it. I'd left it hooked up to my laptop at home! So, no picture of me with the Very Important Shawn Stinson, who I've been hoping to meet for a couple of years now.

I've met him, but there's no proof. You're just going to have to take my word for it.

One of my other favorite builds of the day was Yankee Stadium. I cannot even BEGIN to imagine how long it took to build this one.

The longer I stood there, the more the tiny details revealed themselves to me. Honestly, I wanted to take photos in two-inch increments. But I thought you might get annoyed with me.

I don't know if thinking about building something like this relaxes me or stresses me out. I honestly don't.

I can tell you one thing, though: I wanted to inspect every single one of those minifigs at close range. It seemed like there was one of EVERY MINIFIG in there! Even Santa. Can you find him?

Hint: Far right.

The event was packed ... much more crowded than previous years. When we arrived, there was a 90-minute wait to get inside, but since we already had our tickets, we were allowed to go straight in. I attributed the rise in popularity to The LEGO Movie and This Guy, with whom Jake couldn't WAIT to have his picture taken:

We love Emmett!

I would say that, compared to previous years, this year there were more vendors with LEGO items for sale and fewer actual LEGO creations on display.

I have zero scientific evidence to back that claim up. That was just my impression.

It didn't make the creations that WERE there any less impressive, though. For example, this KOA campground had a lot going for it.

I loved that the girl in the pool had a pool noodle and that Santa was catching some rays poolside.

Something new this year that I was utterly fascinated by was a series of LEGO "paintings." Like this dog ... from several feet away, it's pretty clearly a dog.

But when you step right up to it, it loses a lot of its clarity. It's a lot like an impressionist painting.

Of course there were the requisite Star Wars LEGO creations ...

And Harry Potter pieces, too ...

But those didn't hold the boys' attention like they used to. Sorry, old stories. THEY'VE MOVED ON.

Minecraft definitely caught their eyes.

Amelia was captivated by UniKitty from The LEGO Movie.

As for me, every time I came upon one of those "paintings," I just wanted to stand there and stare at it to try to figure out HOW YOU DO IT.

When I first walked up to this Star Wars one, I didn't think it was All That.

But when I looked more closely, I could see that it was really quite detailed.

This one was, too. And it. was. GINORMOUS.

Quite frankly, I'm not even sure what it's supposed to BE, but it had scads of detail.

My favorite part of it was the dogwood (or cherry blossom) tree and the cows grazing below.

But there was NO CONTEST as to Amelia's overall favorite, even though it prolly came from a kit. (What do I know?)

Elsa's Ice Castle, starring Elsa, Anna and Olaf.

Amelia's sole criticism was, "Where's Kristoff?"

Spoiler Alert: Kristoff and Sven weren't part of it. She was mildly disappointed. But she was able to let it go.


We didn't stay as long as we had on previous visits, but we still had a great time. AND we didn't leave empty-handed. If your kids are LEGO fans and you think you're leaving BrickFair without buying something LEGO-related, you're better parents than we are.

We headed out at 2:15, and it was scheduled to close at 4:00. At that point, the line was still wrapped from the second floor down to the first floor.

We were surprised that the lobby was still full of people waiting to get in at that point.

Little did we know that the line continued outside!

And down the side of the Civic Center.

And then turned left at the corner and went down the other side of the building!

We hoped that everyone who was in line at that point actually got in by 3:00 so they had some time to explore before the event closed that day.

What a bummer it would have been if you'd stood in line all that time and not been able to get in!

I still recommend it if you have LEGO fans in your family, but I'd definitely purchase tickets in advance.

Did you go? Do you know anyone who went? What did you or they think?

This post was not sponsored, but as I mentioned, I did receive four tickets from BrickFair for my family and four tickets to give away to a reader as part of BrickFair's promotional efforts in Birmingham. They didn't require me to write a follow-up post; I did so because I would have anyway.

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