Colored bricks demolish the barrier between child and adult.
By Wally Perez
The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo may be known for its bulls, cowboys and livestock, but one exhibit set itself apart from the rest.
As people wandered the grounds Feb. 13 watching horse competitions or perusing cowboy hat or boot vendors, the Brick Fest Live tent, which housed a variety of Lego exhibits and hands-on activities, welcomed families and individuals to release the inner child.
Brick Fest Live is a Lego touring event that showcases interactive attractions for all ages.
Brick Fest started about two years ago in Philadelphia when Lego enthusiast and founder Chad Collins wanted to attend a Lego showcase with his daughter, but found no such event in his area.
The showcase normally takes up about 100,000 square feet, but the rodeo could only offer about 15,000 square feet, so the show is slimmed down to fit.
Throughout the tent, there are several stations where people can enjoy Legos in different ways.
Lego sculptures, such as a human-size creation of Woody from “Toy Story” and a Lego man in a combat suit, join creative stations that allow guests to construct their own creations.
In the middle of the tent there is a city called “Brickopolis” that includes four premade buildings in the center. Guests can create other buildings, cars or anything they can imagine and add it to the city.
Mark Noel, Brick Fest Live manager, said this is the first time the event has come to the rodeo. He has already seen a great turnout in the first few days.
“It’s always a huge positive to see families, kids and adults enjoy themselves and spend time together playing with something nostalgic like Legos,” Noel said. “It’s great to see the big kid come out of parents and adults.”
The event opened Feb. 11, and in just two days, participants had already contributed great additions to both the city and the mosaic wall, he said.
People have added cars, and an assortment of airplanes to the city over the last few days; vehicles seem to be popular, he said.
The mosaic station allows guests to use 1-by-1-centimeter Lego bricks and add them to a 16-by-16-centimeter plate to create whatever designs they want. Once finished, they’re able to add them to a wall with other creations.
“We aim to have parents engage with their children; it’s common for them to play alone at home, whether it be video games or another activity,” Noel said. “Here at Brick Fest parents and their children play; it’s almost as if two kids were playing together.”
Education sophomore Amber Renney and son Aiden, 8, were spending quality time together at the station.
Aiden was enthusiastically rummaging through Legos in the containers provided at the tables, working on what he said was a secret.
“He’s Lego-obsessed,” Renney said. “I looked at the rodeo website and saw that this event about Legos was going to be here and he wanted to come here first thing.”
Other stations included the Brick Fest Live Derby area where guests built and raced small cars against others down a 20-foot ramp and an area where guests drove remote-controlled Lego tractors around a small, enclosed area.
With Valentine’s Day the following day, one station consisted of only red Lego bricks, which guests used to create hearts, spell their names or build other designs.
Jeffrey Decou, 12, was constructing a model of the Brick Fest mascot, which was a red brick figure.
“I have a lot of Legos at home so this area is really cool,” Decou said.
Decou, who came to the rodeo with his family from Belmont, hadn’t been since he was much younger.
“I really enjoyed the cowboy boot camp right outside and the wildlife area, but I didn’t expect there to be a place with a bunch of Legos; it’s awesome,” Decou said.