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Tips for attending a LEGO convention

by admin on April 25, 2014

in Useful Resources

(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. 🙂

LEGO Convention 8

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.

LEGO Convention

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.

LEGO Convention 6

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! 😉

And you may also like to check out the following related post:

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

K April 25, 2014 at 10:14 AM

tyfs

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Lloydguy April 25, 2014 at 10:36 AM

I want to go to Philly Brick Fest! finally, a close LEGO event!

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admin April 25, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Well, you better hurry up then because it is happening right now! 😉

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CD's Lego Blog April 25, 2014 at 11:08 AM

I really want to go to one. I might go in a couple of years since there is not one close to me. The big Lego convention in Canada is BrickFête. It’s mostly in Toronto, but has gone to Vancouver and Montreal. I’m probably going to try and go to the Toronto one at some point.

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admin April 25, 2014 at 12:23 PM

I should really make a list of all the large LEGO conventions for all countries. The USA and Canada I could do, but I’m not sure in places like the UK, Australia, and Asia. If you guys want to help compile a list you are welcome. 😉

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Håkan April 26, 2014 at 2:28 AM

Despite high costs, Lego seems quite popular in Japan.

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legostuff71 April 25, 2014 at 12:21 PM

I don’t have the money or a ride to go to any of the LEGO conventions, and any money I do have go to the LEGO sets I want. I guess you can say I make my own LEGO conventions ( me, myself and I. Kinda lonely isn’t.) I do go to the SACBB . Hi, William.

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ninja of stealth April 25, 2014 at 12:42 PM

It would be cool to go to one but I doubt there is going to be one where I live and that my mom is going to take me there. 🙁

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Kim April 25, 2014 at 12:50 PM

The closest to me would be Santa Clara Bricks By the Bay and next closest would be Seattle. The Santa Clara one actually could potentially be doable this year as August is enough time away to plan. I think I’d have to convince my brother to go with me though because I’m not sure I could do the convention thing alone for the first time.

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admin April 25, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Kim, yes, it is always best to go with someone else. So many people around you don’t know could be intimidating. If you have a LEGO club near you, or even a LEGO store, you could make some friends there who would love to go with you. And of course your brother is a good option too. That’s what brothers are for. 😉

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admin April 25, 2014 at 12:54 PM

BTW, I just noticed your email address. Very fun… and so true! 😛

(P.S.: I’m the only one who can see your email address, and I don’t do anything with it, so don’t worry.)

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Kim April 25, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Ha ha =D

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Linda C Smith April 26, 2014 at 1:59 AM

I’m a volunteer member of the Bricks by the Bay 2014 PR team and I can tell you that this year’s convention is going to be great fun! It’s the fifth annual, will have double the exhibit space, a first time ever brickfilm festival…lots.

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admin April 26, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Linda, thanks for mentioning that. BTW, I got your email with the announcement. I will have that posted as soon as I can.

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ninja of stealth April 26, 2014 at 9:51 PM

whoa, whoa, wait a minute, there’s going to be one in Seattle? YES!!!!!! even though I’m kind of far (really far, sort of) away from Seattle.

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Superweapon April 25, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Don’t forget the free stuff!

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admin April 26, 2014 at 10:32 AM

There is free stuff??? 😛

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ninja of stealth April 26, 2014 at 9:52 PM

yeah what admin said.
(I can’t believe there’s free stuff! 😀 then again I kind of can.)

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Tomsche April 25, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Over here in the backwater rural country called belgium, we also have one of those conventions, Brickmania
http://tomsche69.blogspot.be/2013/11/brickmania-antwerp-2013-picture-report.html

It os that show, which I discovered by accident, that both rekindled my `inner fire` after the dark ages that lasted for me about 20 years, as well as started it with the munchkin.

I can only recommend people of all ages to just go there, and have a blast looking your eyes out on the very first time you visit one of those conventions!

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admin April 26, 2014 at 10:33 AM

Thanks for mentioning that about Brickmania in Belgium! Yeah, a LEGO show can be a great way to rekindle your interest in the hobby! 🙂

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lego ff April 25, 2014 at 8:13 PM

What’s the closest to NYC?

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Lorca Strand April 25, 2014 at 9:14 PM

Always talk to the AFOLs! It gives you a great sense of community!

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admin April 26, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Good advice! Half of the fun of the LEGO hobby is the persons behind it!

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Martin Fuglsang April 26, 2014 at 2:02 PM

We have the recurring LEGO World during the kids winter holidays in Denmark (Thursday-Sunday). It is held in Copenhagen so this year was the first time I had time to go there but it was totally worth it! Went there on saturday and spend some time in Denmark’s only LEGO store (besides the one in LEGOLAND) on sunday as it also is located in Copenhagen.

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admin April 26, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Martin, thanks for sharing that. Is LEGO World organized by LEGO itself, or is it an AFOL convention?

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Martin Fuglsang April 26, 2014 at 6:59 PM

It is organized by LEGO in collaboration with the danish television TV2, the convention center Bella Center and car manufacturer Seat. There were respesentation of LEGO, DBU (Danish soccer union), Seat, Byggepladen (Danish AFOLs) and more. The convention was pretty much split in LEGO-zone and Fan-zone. The Danish AFOLs have their own convention Klodsfest (Brickfest) in mid may. I don’t know much about that, but I might attend.

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admin April 27, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Martin, thanks for clarifying that. Very interesting. I guess in Europe sponsored conventions like what you mention is more common. LEGO is a very major company there. Here LEGO is more considered a toy or hobby and not so much focused on as a company. Conventions are organized by LEGO fans and sponsored by LEGO customizers and other third-party but LEGO related vendors. LEGO does support at least the largest ones of these events by sending their community relations representatives, they usually have a table to sell LEGO, may reveal a new LEGO set and also offer presentations and workshop. But they are clearly in the position of supporters, not organizers or sponsors. Let me know if you attend Brickfest. It would be interesting to compare notes on how these events are run in different parts of the world. 🙂

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Glenn April 26, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Note: while Brick Fiesta *is* every year so far (since 2011) it is not always in San Antonio. In fact, the first year was in Austin, 2012 was Houston, and 2013 was Dallas.

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admin April 26, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Glenn, thanks for mentioning that. I updated the article. Is it good?

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Clumsybumsy October 20, 2014 at 1:02 PM

LEGO world(both the dutch and danish ones) should be great conventions to go to if you live near them. Although it might be a little bit oriented to kids sometimes.

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admin October 20, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Thanks for sharing that! 🙂

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Chris of Yoda Archives October 24, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Just learned there’s a LEGO Kidsfest in Nashville in 2015. My son will be three and a half by then. Is there enough to keep a little entertained. He had fun at the building tables at brick fair but that was about all he played with.
Is there enough there for AFOLS?

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admin October 24, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Chris, the event would be fun for your son, although that depends on how well he handles crowds. There are a lot of kids at these events, and it could get a bit overwhelming. There are no activities geared towards adult LEGO fans. It’s kind of like going to the LEGO store; lots of kids, play tables and activities for kids, while adults mill around and try to keep an eye on their little one. One nice thing though is that they do sell products as well and your VIP card is accepted. 😉

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Todd Webb March 24, 2015 at 9:44 AM

Good points – glad to read the part about *socializing* as that’s really the key ingredient!

Note: KidsFest is thrown into this list with many others, but is a different animal. KidsFest is a LEGO branded, not a fan-run event, and is invitation only. So one can’t simply decide to attend. And there’s none of the games and prizes either.

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admin March 24, 2015 at 10:53 AM

Todd, I added KidFest to the list just for the sake of completeness. As you said, it is for kids, not for AFOLs, but it may still be a fun family event to participate in. After all adult events are usually not as fun for kids. 😉

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Chris May 13, 2015 at 12:06 PM

Is Brick Fest Live considered a convention or a public display?

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admin May 13, 2015 at 3:32 PM

Chris, BrickFest is an AFOL convention. In fact it was the first AFOL convention in the USA that was only opened to the public for a few short hours. 🙂

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