The Journal Gazette
Sunday, October 10, 2021 1:00 am

Creativity abounds at Brickworld

Lego enthusiasts admire displays, make their own


Barely controlled chaos reigned Saturday morning at this year’s addition of Brickworld, a Lego-lovers convention in Fort Wayne’s Memorial Coliseum.

The ruckus emanated from tables where two bona fide Lego Masters helmed a building contest for more than a dozen pint-sized wannabes to create animals, real or imaginary, from shoebox-sized bins of random Lego pieces.

Father Tim and son Zach Croll of Michigan, contestants from Season 2 of the Fox TV show “Lego Masters,” challenged the young builders to come up with their creations in an hour or less.

Kyle and his son Ryker Doehla, 8, of Fort Wayne got to work building a crab holding a fish, with Kyle sorting through the pile of plastic blocks for the crab while Ryker assembled blue and yellow ones into the fish.

Maddox Franz, 8, of Hoagland put his mind to coming up with a design for a dragon.

His mom and dad, Sarah and Brian Franz, watched, saying this was their first time at the event. As soon as they heard an announcement about the contest over the loudspeaker, Maddox dashed to the sign-up table, Sarah Franz said.

“He’s always building. If he’s not building Legos, he’s building at the computer. He likes to figure out how things go together,” Maddox’s mother said. “He’s very creative.”

Plenty of creativity was on display – from a complete replica of Hogwarts from the popular Harry Potter franchise to a huge farm layout, with dinosaurs hiding in a cornfield.

The displays were made by Lego clubs and individual enthusiasts from around the region, said Bryan Bonahoom, a spokesman for the event, which also featured vendors of Lego-inspired products and accessories.

This was Brickworld’s first time at the Coliseum’s Expo III, Bonahoom said. The event, formerly at Grand Wayne Convention Center, planned the move before the pandemic in search of more exhibitor space and parking and the availability of a refreshment stand, he said.

But the new location has also served the event well in the era of social distancing, Bonahoom said. The Coliseum site has about 38,000 square feet, up from 32,000 at Grand Wayne. Organizers expected 5,000 visitors per day. 

Bonahoom added one disappointment was that a 63,000-piece Lego replica of the former Bass Mansion on the campus of the University of Saint Francis failed to appear. 

The model, a 15th wedding anniversary gift from Robert Geyer to his wife, Andrea Geyer, Saint Francis’ dean of the College of Arts, Science and Business, got hung up in transit at the Canadian border, Bonahoom said.

The replica mansion was expected to be on display at Brickworld this weekend then move to the university’s welcome center.

Plans are now uncertain, Bonahoom said, adding Brickworld organizers found out about the holdup Saturday morning. 

Brickworld will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at Expo III at Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave. Admission is $14; children age 3 and under are free. Military and first-responder family members’ tickets are $11 with ID.

Parking is $8 per standard vehicle, $12 for the preferred lot and $16 for an RV, bus or limousine.


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