(Written by William)
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the LEGO hobby, get inspiration and meet other LEGO fans is to participate in a LEGO convention/expo. There are many smaller regional events that you can find out about through your local LEGO Users Group, and also several large multi-day events throughout the year.
If you have never been to a LEGO convention or expo, below I will give you a list of some of the largest events happening in the USA, and if you are in another country and know about local LEGO events and have some favorites, please feel free to mention them for the benefit of our readers. I also thought to share with you some tips about how to get the most out of these fun LEGO events and conventions.
TIPS FOR ATTENDING A LEGO CONVENTION/EXPO
The larger LEGO conventions/expos are often multi-day events, with a chance for LEGO fans to interact for a day or two before opening up the event for the public. At such events there are discussions, workshops, games presentations and more amongst LEGO fans, and also a chance to interact with LEGO’s own community coordinators like Kevin Hinkle and other LEGO employees. If you are going to an event like this and would like to talk with LEGO employees, make sure you meet up with them before the public day comes around, as at that time you likely won’t have a chance to catch them.
There are many fun activities on both the private and public days, but chances are you won’t be able to go to every one of them. The schedule you are given is your best friend. Make sure you look through it carefully and pick the events you would like to participate in. Set a timer on your phone. No matter how hard you try to keep track of time, it will slip away from you. Don’t plan to do much on public days. There is very little room to do anything, much less talk to anyone. Just absorb all the fun!
Both LEGO itself and various LEGO customizers and other vendors have booths set up during the event, however shopping during a LEGO convention is iffy. You will find the best selection the very first day, but prices may change throughout the event. For instance merchants may cut a deal with you at the very end just so they don’t have to pack things away. If you have LEGO related things you’re willing to trade bring them with you; you never know what deal you can strike.
Schedule time for photographing LEGO displays on the non-public days. You won’t have everyone in your way, and event organizers may not put the guard-rails up until the public day so you can get closer to the displays.
And above all else, socialize. When I went to my first LEGO convention I didn’t realize how many people in my area were world-famous for their LEGO building skills. Plus the LEGO hobby is full of secret information that you probably never heard of, but you will run into someone at a LEGO convention who knows them.
Finally, make sure you stay for all the drawings. I had a friend who left a LEGO event early, his name was picked for the biggest prize they gave away, but since he was gone he didn’t win.
LEGO CONVENTIONS & EXPOS IN THE USA
BrickWorld – held every year at various locations. Website: BrickWorld.us. Upcoming events (visit their website for details):
- Brickworld Chicago, Illinois: June 14-15, 2014
- Brickworld Fort Wayne, Indiana: October 11-12, 2014
- Brickworld Tampa, Florida: October 25-26, 2014
- Brickworld Indy: March 14-15, 2015
BrickFair – held every year at various locations. Website: BrickFair.com. Upcoming events (visit their website for details):
- BrickFair Manchester, New Hampshire: May 8–11, 2014
- BrickFair Chantilly, Virginia: July 30–August 3, 2014
- BrickFair , Somerset, New Jersey: October 30–November 2, 2014
- BrickFair Birmingham, Alabama: January 15-18, 2015
KidsFest – held every year at various locations. Website: KidsFest.com. Upcoming events (visit their website for details):
- KidsFest Novi, Michigan: April 25–27, 2014
- KidsFest Atlanta, Georgia: June 27–29, 2014
- KidsFest Dallas, Texas: August 29–31, 2014
- KidsFest Richmond, Virginia: October 3–5, 2014
- KidsFest Indianapolis, Indiana: November 7–9, 2014
BrickCon – held every year in Seattle, Washington, and this year a spring exhibit has been also added in Tacoma. Website: BrickCon.org. Upcoming events (visit their website for details):
- BrickCon Tacoma, Washington: April 26-27, 2014
- BrickCon Seattle, Washington: October 4-5, 2014
BrickFiesta – held every year in Texas at various cities. Website: BrickFiesta.com. Upcoming event (visit their website for details):
- BrickFiesta San Antonio, Texas: July 5-6, 2014
Bricks-by-the-Bay – held every year in Northern California. Website: BricksByTheBay.com. Upcoming event (visit their website for details):
- Bricks-by-the-Bay Santa Clara, California: August 10, 2014
Philly Brick Fest – this is the first year this event is held. Website: PhillyBrickFest.com. Upcoming event (visit their website for details):
- Philly Brick Fest Oaks, Pennsylvania: April 26-27, 2014
If you are a LEGO fan I highly encourage you to check out one of these LEGO events. Whether you are an adult LEGO fan, a teen, or a child, these events are great for all ages, and your whole family can have lots of fun. You will also make friends, see amazing LEGO models, learn new ways to build with LEGO, and in general get inspired in the hobby. I hope from the above list you will find a LEGO event near you.
If you have attended a LEGO convention or expo before and have some tips, or would like to share your own experiences, feel free to use the comment section below. Also, if you are in another country and would like to mention the LEGO events in your region you can list those as well. Our readers are from all over the world and I’m sure it will help someone out. You may even meet up in the future!
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