|Venue||Dulles Expo Center|
|Attendance||19,388 in 2010|
|Organized by||Todd Webb|
BrickFair is a LEGO convention and exhibition held annually in the Eastern United States. It was first held in 2008 at Tysons Corner, Virginia by Todd Webb, and in subsequent years, the Virginia convention has been held in Chantilly, typically during the first weekend of August. BrickFair is a four-day event, operating generally Thursday through Sunday. The convention displays LEGO models, displays and trains, most often covering more than 100,000 square feet of convention space. BrickFair conventions are also held in New England and the Southeastern United States, with the advent of BrickFair Alabama in 2012 and BrickFair New Hampshire in 2013. BrickFair currently operates in every season and in four East Coast states. BrickFair is believed to be the largest LEGO convention in the United States and one of the largest in the world. The Virginia convention usually has approximately 20,000 attendees fill the Dulles Expo Center throughout its public hours, while the Alabama convention has grown steadily in public attendance each year.
History and organization
The first BrickFair convention, in 2008, was held as a four-day convention at the Sheraton Premiere Hotel near Tysons Corner in Vienna, VA. The location was partially chosen because it was the 2006 site of BrickFest, a now-defunct LEGO convention. In 2010, BrickFair was moved to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA in order to make room for further expansion of the event. The Virginia convention of BrickFair is still held annually at the Dulles Expo Center. BrickFair increased the number of events each year by adding an event in Birmingham, Alabamain January 2012. In May 2013, the convention expanded to New England with an event in Manchester, New Hampshire. At the 2013 Virginia BrickFair event, it was announced that BrickFair would be opening an annual exhibition in New Jersey, with its first event being held in 2014 at the Garden State Expo Center in Somerset, New Jersey.
From the initial stages of planning, BrickFair was designed to be linked with a children's charity. The chosen charity is Maryland-based, named The SladeChild Foundation Charitable Trust. The charity provides food, shelter, clothing, and medicine to children around the world. The Foundation has been supported by BrickFair since 2008, and has a booth at BrickFair Virginia each August. The Foundation offers bags of donated, cleaned, and sorted LEGO bricks and other items to support their cause. The Charity runs a LEGO piece yard sale and auction at BrickFair Virginia for the exhibitors, with basic parts offered at the yard sale and more valuable items offered at the auction.
In 2011, 100 LEGO minifigures were donated by Ben Spector to the SladeChild charity, and were offered at the 2011 BrickFair event. In 2012, 275 minifigures were donated by BrickFair to SladeChild, and were offered at the 2012 Virginia BrickFair event. At the 2013 Virginia event, 300 minifigures were handed out to raise money for the charity.
The function of the private convention is to provide a venue for adult fans of LEGO to display their own LEGO creations. The event brings together the online fan community, and helps them to explore and develop their LEGO hobby. Activities at the convention include presentations, seminars, round-table discussions, contests, games, door prizes, and many experiences unique to LEGO conventions. Each registrant receives a convention packet that includes a personalized name badge made from engraved LEGO bricks, as well as a program of activities, exclusive handouts, and coupons.
Some games and events are held every year due to high appeal and attendance. Speed Build is one of many games usually played at BrickFair conventions. In Speed Build, a team of six players work together to build a large LEGO set, using an instruction booklet. Afterwards, the set is broken up into parts, and each participant takes home a part of that set. LEGO Bingo is a game that involves winning LEGO sets and prizes by showing a winning Bingo board. Parts drafts involve all participants buying a copy of the same set and arriving with it. The sets are then opened and the parts are formed into lots. Everyone takes turns selecting a pile of pieces to bring home and keep. Dirty Brickster involves each participant bringing a wrapped gift. Everyone takes turns grabbing gifts or taking from neighboring participants until the gifts are gone. Lego Hold Em is a poker tournament, Texas hold 'em-style, where the most successful win LEGO prizes.
Running of the Bulls
Starting in 2008, a popular program was conducted at the Potomac Mills LEGO store, which allowed BrickFair registrants to access the store in an after-hours sale from 9:30 p.m. until midnight. The program featured promotions such as 20% off purchases of $150 or more and 50% off items with damaged boxes. The program lasted from 2008 to 2010, but was discontinued for the 2011 event and remains unavailable.
The main focus of the public exhibition is to invite LEGO fans of all ages and the general public to view hundreds of hobbyist-built creations and meet their creators. In addition, visitors may watch Mindstorms robot battles or Brickfilms (LEGO-themed short films), or have their children build at Stay & Play, a large space with LEGO bricks for building and playing. Also available to visitors are the vendors, who sell LEGO sets, creations, designs, and individual pieces.
Locations and dates
|August 29–31, 2008||Sheraton Premiere Hotel at Tysons Corner, Vienna, VA||402||10,000||Board Games||$8,717 USD|
|August 21–23, 2009||Sheraton Premiere Hotel at Tysons Corner, Vienna, VA||636||7,565||Food & Drink||$9,619 USD|
|August 5–8, 2010||Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly, VA (North Hall)||699||19,388||Music||$22,805 USD|
|August 4–7, 2011||Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly, VA (South Hall)||724||17,000||NASA||Undisclosed|
|August 2–5, 2012||Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly, VA (South Hall)||1,044||20,000||Fire||Undisclosed|
|August 1–4, 2013||Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly, VA (South Hall)||859||14,000||Birds||$11,700 USD|
|July 31–August 3, 2014||Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly, VA (South Hall)||TBA||TBA||Air & Wind||TBA|
|January 12–15, 2012||Birmingham Convention Center, Birmingham, AL (East Hall)||200||6,800||Fire||Undisclosed|
|January 17–20, 2013||Birmingham Convention Center, Birmingham, AL (East Hall 3)||164||8,000||Birds||Undisclosed|
|January 9–12, 2014||Birmingham Convention Center, Birmingham, AL (East Hall 1 & 2)||TBA||TBA||Air & Wind||TBA|
BrickFair New Hampshire
|May 9–12, 2013||Expo Center of New Hampshire, Manchester, NH||159||2,250||Birds||Undisclosed|
|May 8–11, 2014||Expo Center of New Hampshire, Manchester, NH||TBA||TBA||Air & Wind||TBA|
BrickFair New Jersey
|October 30–November 2, 2014||Garden State Expo Center, Somerset, NJ||TBA||TBA||Air & Wind||TBA|
- BrickFair public FAQ at the Wayback Machine (archived October 22, 2010)
- "BrickFair Charity page". BrickFair. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
- "The SladeChild Foundation Charitable Trust". SladeChild Foundation Charitable Trust. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
- Cooper, Rachel (July 7, 2012). "BrickFair LEGO Festival 2012". About.com Guide. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- Underwood, Madison (January 11, 2012). "Kids and kids at heart look forward to Brickfair Alabama". weld for Birmingham. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- Tour of BrickFair 2008 at the Wayback Machine (archived November 20, 2008)
- BrickFair public FAQ at the Wayback Machine (archived February 17, 2010)
- BrickFair Charity page at the Wayback Machine (archived October 22, 2010)
- BrickFair Homepage
- The SladeChild Foundation Homepage
- The Lego Group Homepage
- BrickFair Virginia Homepage
- BrickFair Alabama Homepage
- BrickFair New England Homepage
- BrickFair New Jersey Homepage