LEGO KidsFest lets creativity click at Convention Center
By Kellie B. Gormly
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 9:48 p.m.
Those plastic, snap-together bricks have withstood many toy trends during the past six decades, yet Legos remain a popular favorite among kids and the adults who grew up with them.
This weekend, visitors to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown, can indulge in all things small and plastic at LEGO KidsFest, a national tour with only six cities including Pittsburgh. Legos will fill the convention center, where thousands of adults and kids are expected to attend the event that has been selling out in other cities.
Lego enthusiasts of all ages and building abilities can explore the Lego Model Gallery, featuring dozens of life-size models made from Legos, and Creation Nation, where kids can build creations to add to a map of the United States. On the Race Ramps, visitors can build custom cars and race them down the ramp.
In the Lego Master Builders area, visitors can watch live demonstrations from Lego experts whose job it is to build with and teach about the bricks.
“I think what's amazing about Legos is its endless creativity,” Chris Steininger says. He and his father, Dan, are Lego master builders who will be coming to the Pittsburgh event, which is here for the second year in a row.
“It doesn't matter what you build one day, because the next day, you can build something different with totally different pieces. It just gives a lot of satisfaction.”
The Steininger men, two of seven Lego master builders in North America, will be teaching KidsFest attendees about the art of building with the interlocking bricks. The possibilities are limitless, says the younger Steininger, a Western Massachusetts resident whose full-time career is with Legos. Many master builders have an artistic background. They can work up to 1,800 hours on massive Lego displays that can weigh a ton, he says.
“We're all very creative,” Steininger says about master builders. “We can build anything and take everything apart and put it back together again. We're all very creative and artists.”
Other KidsFest features include Construction Zones, with free building, playing and displaying areas. At Brickscapes, displays combine Legos and Duplos, which are plastic bricks designed for preschoolers. Kids can play in the Brick Pile, a gigantic pile of Legos.
Aaron Wartner, vice president of sales and marketing for LEGO KidsFest, says that the event gives people the opportunity to experience “Lego bricks in a way you can't necessarily do at home.”
“It is, very frankly, an incredibly wholesome wonderful family experience that families can do together,” Wartner says.
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7824.
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