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What they did have:
-Kids bouncy house.
-Kids large Duplo play area,
-Kids random build area
-Kids coloring area
-501st Garrison (Star Wars dress-up folks. Cool, but not Lego)
-A dozen vendors (minifigs selling like hotcakes)
-Robot battle area (I couldn’t figure out if the kids were supposed to pick-up marbles or just bonk into each other)
-MOC Bionicle display sponsored by BZ power. (These were not local creations)
-Several tables of built stock Lego sets. (Looked like desperate filler to me)
-A couple table of creations by individuals that were selling their services.
-One large Lego Tiger-with-top-hat statue.
What they didn’t have:
- MOC’s. (to be fair, there was a VERY small selection of these.)
-No Lego Cities
-No Lego train set-ups
-No Lego art work (except for a vendor)
-No Ball machines
-No large “oh wow” space ships
-Which means to me that there was little to no local club involvement.
I was with a family that had two young children and they did enjoy it so it was fun to watch them have a good time for a couple hours.
My beef is that it was not advertised as “kids only” like the traveling Brick Magic show. I had expectations that were definitely not met so perhaps this rant is not justified but if you’re going tomorrow as just an AFOL, (no kids) don’t bother.
It is great that there is a NEW LEGO get together aimed at children. We AFOL's have plenty of events to enjoy; it is important that there are shows for children as well. The many vendors of everything seemed to be quite pleased with the turn out and sales. I have never seen so much LEGO artillery and arms in one room!
And there was more than enough activity to keep me busy for several hours providing good value for the $15. ticket at the door. The enclosed reading area with tables loaded with No Starch Press LEGO books was very cool. The large presentation of buildings by Jonathan Lopes of Brooklyn was also entertaining; his plant and flower mosaics are impressive. I purchased from Tommy Alexander some lovely printed tiles of Sean Kenney's fantastic animal creations and saw some gorgeous tiles of Nathan Sawaya's work as well. I would have bought a LEGO caricature of myself if the line had not been so long.
Again this show was a huge success for its first run; I'm glad it was in Raleigh, where we have lots of young LEGO fans and not enough shows. Congratulations to the Speights of VA for putting on such a first class event. (I met both parents and all four children, and they worked well together making this a fun day.) The Raleigh Convention Center is a fantastic venue for a high quality LEGO show. Do mark your calendar for their future shows as it should be worth your time if you are in the area.
I did read your comments and agree that it was a wonderful event for kids with lots of exciting activities. The kids I observed (during over two hours on the floor) seemed to be having a blast. Made me want to be a kid again, but with LEGO this go round.
Sometimes I think that we adults feel that a proper LEGO event should have lots of MOC's and AFOL involvement in order to be the real thing. But there is no rule saying that all LEGO events have to follow the path led by BrickFair, BrickCon, BrickWorld, etc. There is plenty of space for events taking other forms and addressing other markets, such as children. It would have been helpful here if they had focused on advertising to families with kids. But I still enjoyed the event and felt I received my money's worth as an adult attending on my own.
The first year is a tough one for most shows, and I rate BU2015 as having an outstanding run in Raleigh because most of the folks I saw there today were having a blast. At first I was upset that there were so few MOC's and AFOLs around, but that is partly due to NCLug deciding not to support this event, which I feel was a shame. I do not belong to this group, and do not feel that this was a wise decision on their part. LEGO should be a fun hobby, not a political war over who holds what power over whom.
Once I realized that this was a totally different format from the huge LEGO events mentioned above, it was easy to accept that not all LEGO shows have to be for adults or require multitudes of MOC's.
I spent an hour or so looking over the goods offered by the many vendors and thought that there was a great selection of things to buy. If you consider the overhead of most vendors, it is easy to understand why they have to charge more than BrickLink or retail store prices to make a profit. I doubt that most of them are very profitable operations, but I could be wrong. And the vendors put in ungodly hours and effort to man their booths for the entire show. (Even if you pointed a gun at my head, I probably couldn't remain behind a booth answering the same often dumb questions for two days.) So I didn't expect to find any bargains at the show.
In summary, I really enjoyed BU 2015 and look forward to attending it again next year. It is great that someone was willing to take the enormous risk of putting this event together because we badly need more LEGO shows in the Raleigh area.
This really stood out for me as totally missing the point of large AFOL events which BTW all include wonderful experiences for children as part of the event. A large multi-day event where you want AFOLs to travel to has to include something for the AFOLs. Why would I drive hundreds of miles and pay to stay in hotel if all I was doing was providing free material for a kids display?
Now, I can (and do) provide free displays aimed almost totally at children in my local community and surrounding areas several times a year. Local shopping malls, schools, community centers and museums have all hosted displays by our local LUG and nobody has to travel and stay in a hotel. They have ranged from 1 hour in an elementary school gym over lunch time to a three day display and build fest in several locations in a small neighbouring town. These events have virtually no activites for the AFOLs except perhaps a communal dinner at a restaurant where we all pay for our own dinners.
The criticism of this event seems to be that it was advertised as an AFOL event but failed to offer anything like the kind of experiences that AFOLs expect. Sounds to me like there was a disconnect between the vision of the organizers, and the expectations of both visitors and AFOLs. That is a legitimate criticism and one the organizers can easily address for next year.
In the mean time, lets stop playing the "won't anyone think of the children" card to silence dissent. It is at best ignorant, and at worst insulting.
when information about BU first came out, it looked decidedly un-professional - i wasn't willing to drop coin on a gamble, others mileage may vary.
to those who did attend, i'd ask if you're not part of NCLUG, you should join :)
Thank you for your comments and concerns and big thank you to those who made it out to BrickUniverse.
"ecmo7" and others, I understand your disappointment as we did market to Brickset as an event for AFOLs. I think all of your expectations of a great AFOL event were meant at BrickUniverse, just not during public hours. That is why we had two days before Saturday and Sunday all dedicated to AFOLs and TFOLs loaded with games, raffles, and awesome seminars (check out our Builder Site). THOSE two days are what we promoted through Brickset and other LEGO fan websites. THOSE two days were meant for the AFOLS and TFOLs.
As for the local club involvement, everyone was invited just like every other AFOL and TFOL who displayed this past weekend. We will continue to reach out for everyone's involvement, just like we did this year. I won't touch on Furrysaurus' comments as I personally find them immature, disrespectful, incorrect (he knows, I met him at a club function and few years back) and more about politics than our love for LEGO. Is it about how old you are? Where you are from? What you look like? Or is it about our love for LEGO? I think it is the latter, but maybe I'm wrong.
This was a first time event and was overall a smashing success. Everyone including our AFOLs who attended our Builder Convention, the public, and even AFOLs who only attended public hours who I talked to had a blast. To me, that is the measure of success.
We're super excited to announce our plans for next year, as we are planning for a even bigger show for the public and especially AFOLs and TFOLs. Because of our first year's success, it is our goal to give back to this community. We have some awesome things in the works.
Tedwards: I agree complete with your comments. Thanks for stating them so succinctly! I’ve got one event under my belt and am weighing the options to drag my 9x12 layout to another show. It was easy to do locally but to take it on the road will require a significant logistical effort that I am not able to muster at this time. It was a big hit with the kids but attracted as much or more attention from the adults.
Greyson: Congrats on a successful show. I am glad that lots of folks showed up and that you are optimistic about another show next year.
While I should not have used an unprofessional word in my opening sentence, I stand by my comments on my evaluation of the event. I was hoping to attend a show much like the 2012 version of Brick Magic show that had all of the displays that were missing from your show. Perhaps I missed the AFOL stuff but, unfortunately, I am 2.5 hours away from Raleigh so attending on a work night was not an option for me. The old Brick Magic event had lectures and events on Saturday so hopefully that will be a feature for the future. But having the pre-events do not explain for the lack of displays at your show. With a town the size of Raleigh, I would expect to see loads of MOC’s and layouts. I did hear a rumor that you were charging to enter MOC’s. Is that true? That would certainly keep many creators away. One note, your link to the AFOL events did not have any specifics. Did that page get taken down already? I'd be interested to see what I missed.
Due to the distance, I am not part the NCLug so I do not know if they were invited to be part of your show or not. I did talk to a few members at their fine event in February and one commented that they knew nothing of your event while planning theirs. I certainly hope that you will be able to establish an open line of communication with them to improve the quality of your show.
All: This is the first I’ve heard of Brick Magic in Charlotte. I don’t know why I am so out of the loop! It looks like the show I was hoping to get in Raleigh (See a huge hall of CUSTOM LEGO CREATIONS by top builders!). I hope that these overlapping events won’t dilute the audience or the ability of the local fans to support.
I can't tell you how many BIONICLE fans came by to visit during the public days! Lots of kids commented on how much they loved BIONICLE. An adult attendee asked me whether any of the vendors sold BIONICLE, and was vocally disappointed when I told him that none of them had the old-school sets, just the ones you can still get in stores. One parent visiting during the public days even had the original six Toa from BIONICLE tattooed on his arms — now that's dedication!
I'm not sure what you mean by "no LEGO art work", because I had about eight of my drawings on display at my MOC table. Several of these were BIONICLE and Hero Factory drawings, so again, they might not have been to your taste, but frankly I've been to Brickfair Virginia many years and seen next to no LEGO artwork on display other than my own and the stuff at the BZPower tables! I got a lot of positive comments on my drawings from the people who came by during the public days, as well as some of the AFOL registrants!
In general, this convention was a lot smaller than Brickfair Virginia, but it was not a bad experience for me, and that's speaking as a registered attendee who was there for three and a half days. The worst bit for me was the last few minutes of the online communities panel on Friday, which were a bit of a mess and (in my opinion) made the AFOL community in general look rather bad. But despite some rough spots that are to be expected with a first-year con, it was generally quite pleasant.
As for the event, I'm glad it went well for the organizers. My only comment would be that even if an event is targeted at kids and not AFOLs, not having the AFOL MOCs in full force to me makes it seem like a vendor haven and LEGO product marketing venue. Games, free build etc are a must when kids are involved but it is nice to try to foster the creative aspect LEGO provides and help show kids what stuff they could build that LEGO doesn't design. The STEM factor as well with things like GBC and Mindstorms/Robot competitions or displays/talks are great.