Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the US LEGO fan convention Brickworld: Chicago 2013! Although this was the 7th annual Brickworld: Chicago, this was the first year in a brand new venue at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center & Hotel. Although I had quite the rough travel experience out to this event from Hartford (I arrived 7 hours later than scheduled), I had a fantastic time once my fate was out of the hands of United.
I arrived in Schaumburg, Illinois late Thursday evening around 11:00pm, however based on the number of folks still setting up MOCs and displays around the show floor you could have convinced me it was earlier. My colleagues had already arrived earlier and had already settled in. It was also a pleasant surprise to see the new LEGO Legends of Chima marketing booth fully set-up. We have been working for several weeks on transitioning ownership of the traditional LEGO community booth to the marketing team and it’s great to see this engagement tool still utilized and reach its full potential by the folks that are the best at it! During the course of the weekend the booth offered a hands-on activity for both fans and public attendees to build, and test out the new Legends of Chima Speedorz. Each day there was a competition for the high score and everyone who participated received a free Chima starter set!
Friday morning started early with a brief breakfast meeting with my colleagues Keith Severson (Senior Manager – Community Support) and Peter Espersen (Head of Community Co-Creation) discussing the schedule for the day. I held two back-to-back sessions right after lunch: “Expectations from LEGO,” with the help of my new boss Keith. After a presentation outlining the LEGO Community Engagement & Events (CEE) team as well as providing the attendees with a history of my time at LEGO and how I support the fan community, we dove straight into questions and discussion. We got lots of great feedback to take into consideration as we continue to strengthen our collaborative opportunities. The only down side was that I forgot my bag of Minifigure business cards- sorry guys! :( Can I blame United again? I joined Peter for his session on LEGO Cuusoo and we got to meet the builder of Purdue Pete! After a long day of speaking with hundreds of fans, we began preparations for the exclusive LEGO set unveiling(s). Turns out we had two as Peter had brought something with him as well!
Keith, Peter and I unveiled the new 10234 Sydney Opera House as well as the next LEGO Cuusoo set: Mars Curiosity Rover during the charity auction to much fan fare. We even got to go through it a second time for our friends filming a documentary on-site. The day was filled with many conversations and I finally made it back to my room around midnight with no voice left.
Saturday morning came around and it was time for more fun! There were no sessions or activities planned to take my attention away so the entire day was devoted to community engagement. I had a lot of really great discussions about a variety of topics. The public was let in and it was wonderful to see the large new venue fill up with excited families. Keith and Peter headed for the airport (back to Billund, Denmark) around lunch time; after we shared our good-byes, I joined the Beyond the Brick crew for a lunch meeting. Every moment between then and dinner was filled with conversation. I was invited to attend the Brickworld VIP dinner to engage with the coordinators and organizers of the event, which I happily obliged. Afterwards I caught up with David Pagano and David Pickett as they hosted the 2nd annual Brickworld Film Festival. Late Saturday evening I utilized my skills in community support and helped BroLUG recruit a few new members (of course, permitting they pass the tests).
I can’t even begin to fully recap everything that took place over my quick visit to Chicagoland. It was another great event and I’ve very happy that the event has moved into a new larger venue. I think this will really help them grow for many more years to come.
My full set of photos can be found in my Flickr photostream here: