BrickFair

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BrickFair
Event logo, bricks shaped like the borders of Washington, D.C.
Status Active
Genre Lego
Frequency Quarterly
Venue Dulles Expo Center
Location(s) Chantilly, Virginia
Country United States
Inaugurated August 29, 2008; 6 years ago (2008-08-29)
Attendance 14,000 (2013)
Organized by Todd Webb
Website
www.brickfair.com

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 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[edit]

The first BrickFair convention, in 2008, was held as a four-day convention at the Sheraton Premiere Hotel near Tysons Corner in Vienna, Virginia. 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 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.

Charity event[edit]

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.[1] The charity provides food, shelter, clothing, and medicine to children around the world.[2] 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.[1] 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.

Private convention[edit]

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.

Beginning in 2008, a popular program was conducted at the Potomac Mills Lego store that 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 percent off purchases of $150 or more and 50 percent off items with damaged boxes. The program lasted until 2010, when it was discontinued for the 2011 event and remains unavailable.

A BrickFair event during the public exhibition
At a BrickFair event during the public exhibition.

Notable vendors have included BrickArms, a vendor of Lego minifigure weapons based out of Redmond, Washington. BrickArms has attended and exhibited models since 2008.[3]

Public exhibition[edit]

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 Lego 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.[4] Also available to visitors are the vendors, who sell Lego sets, creations, designs, and individual pieces.[5]

Locations and dates[edit]

BrickFair Virginia[edit]

Dates Location Registrants Attendance Theme Charity Donations
August 29–31, 2008 Sheraton Premiere Hotel at Tysons Corner, Vienna, VA 402[6] 10,000[6] Board Games $8,717 USD[6]
August 21–23, 2009 Sheraton Premiere Hotel at Tysons Corner, Vienna, VA 636[7] 7,565[7] Food & Drink $9,619 USD
August 5–8, 2010 Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly, VA (North Hall) 699[8] 19,388[8] Music $22,805 USD[9]
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 30–August 3, 2014 Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly, VA (South Hall) 853 22,500 Air & Wind $26,600 USD
July 29–August 2, 2015 Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly, VA (South Hall) TBA TBA Love TBA

BrickFair Alabama[edit]

Dates Location Registrants Attendance Theme Charity Donations
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) 166 TBA Air & Wind Undisclosed
January 15–18, 2015 Birmingham Convention Center, Birmingham, AL TBA TBA Love TBA

BrickFair New Hampshire[edit]

Dates Location Registrants Attendance Theme Charity Donations
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 132 4,000 Air & Wind TBA
April 30–May 3, 2015 Expo Center of New Hampshire, Manchester, NH TBA TBA Love TBA

BrickFair New Jersey[edit]

Dates Location Registrants Attendance Theme Charity Donations
October 30–November 2, 2014 Garden State Expo Center, Somerset, NJ TBA TBA Air & Wind TBA

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "BrickFair Charity page". BrickFair. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ "The SladeChild Foundation Charitable Trust". SladeChild Foundation Charitable Trust. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ "BrickArms at BrickFair 2008". Retrieved August 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ Cooper, Rachel (July 7, 2012). "BrickFair LEGO Festival 2012". About.com Guide. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  5. ^ Underwood, Madison (January 11, 2012). "Kids and kids at heart look forward to Brickfair Alabama". weld for Birmingham. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Tour of BrickFair 2008 at the Wayback Machine (archived November 20, 2008)
  7. ^ a b BrickFair public FAQ at the Wayback Machine (archived February 17, 2010)
  8. ^ a b BrickFair public FAQ at the Wayback Machine (archived October 22, 2010)
  9. ^ BrickFair Charity page at the Wayback Machine (archived October 22, 2010)

External links[edit]