For the fourth year running, I returned to Chantilly, VA to attend BrickFair, a convention of adult fans of LEGO (AFOL) to convene and display their original creations built out of LEGO bricks. This year, I was able to spend four full days to experience everything BrickFair had to offer, as well as volunteer and speak again.
In the wee hours of Wednesday night, my friend Mike drove down myself and our friends Bill and Blake to arrive in Chantilly, VA in the bright and sunny morning. There had been some issues with table being delivered the day before, so setup did not begin in earnest for a couple hours. As the returning “Movie/Book/TV” coordinator, I tried to take care of the tables the best I could as the exhibitors tried to set up amidst the chaos. The first day was quite busy as we all set up our exhibits and socialized until the Opening Ceremonies, which included the announcement of the Winter Cottage.
This year, I had four pieces on display. Making an appearance once again was Touristbot 2.0 to take pictures of BrickFair visitors, as well as three new pieces which I will feature in future blogs. The fully working arcade machine that I dubbed BrickCade, a group of Marvel’s Avengers from the movie based on Gregory Littley’s Post-It Note Avenger designs, and the Quick Stop convenience store from the movie Clerks.
Friday was another day of setting up, but activities began for the attendees. There were assorted talks and games during the day and into the evening. Like the previous few years, I gave a talk this year again. My talk was “Building Your Own Bricks: 3D Printing and LEGO.” While I was told it was informative and people enjoyed the information, I admit I was not as prepared as I should have been because of all the hours spent working on the BrickCade took away from my preparation time. I also had a Makerbot to display, thanks to a loan from Roger Wu, but unfortunately it was not working. Being part of the NY tech scene, it is common for me to see them, but those who don’t have such access appreciated seeing one in person, even if it was disconnected.
Saturday led us to the first day that was open to the public. The line wrapped around the building for the general public to come and view the LEGO creations. The public hours of 11 to 4 were crowded and exhausting, and everyone was in good spirits, especially after some people waited for over an hour in the hot sun as they queued to get in. Once the public hours were over, the AFOLs were able to return to socializing, playing games, and later in the evening, drinking. At 9pm, the younger attendees were asked to leave so those who were of age could have some time to relax, imbibe adult beverages and play more mature games, like poker, until 2am.
Sunday morning came too quickly and the public returned at 11am. Another five hours of displaying our creations to the public in the convention center, it was time to pack up. Two days of setup and two days of displays broken down in about two hours. With the truck packed and Closing Ceremonies completed, the four of us said our goodbyes to our compatriots of the plastic bricks, stopped for a quick dinner nearby, and headed out on the road back to New York until our triumphant return next year.
Once again, BrickFair was a fun, exhausting weekend. With 1,000 AFOLs displaying and 20,000 members of the public coming through the doors, it was another successful weekend for BrickFair. It will be another year before I see many of my fellow AFOLs and I look forward to seeing what they create in the next year.