Happy Holidays

So it is the last day before the Christmas vacation and we would like to send a Merry X-Mas and Happy New Year greeting to the entire AFOL community.

2013 has been a true pleasure and we are certain 2014 will end up just a great.

We are already working hard to prepare all the support going out of Billund next year, but still had time to do a pictorial greeting image for you to enjoy (or smile at)

 

X-Mas 2013

 

MERRY X-MAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR

Jan & Kim

KHinkle – WEEK 51

LEGO Community Team member Kevin Hinkle at the US LEGO corporate office in Enfield, Connecticut.
LEGO Community Team member Kevin Hinkle at the US LEGO corporate office in Enfield, Connecticut.

As the year comes to a close I’ve been extremely busy with final preparations for 2014. The last several weeks have flown by, but there has been a great deal of work still to wrap up before closing up shop for the year.

Last week my colleagues and I announced via email the continuation of some of our LEGO® community support programs into 2014 such as LUG (LEGO User Group) & Event Support. Both of these programs have been developed as a way for The LEGO Group to show both appreciation and support for what the LUG community is doing by recognizing the truly wonderful impact some of their activities can have on the LEGO brand. These programs were well received in 2013 so we couldn’t be happier to continue to offer this to our community in the New Year. I’ve begun collecting and processing applications for 2014 with just over 30 data forms received thus far.

I’ve had numerous positive meetings and discussions over the last several weeks with business units both within and outside the company that wish to work more closely with the AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) community next year. Just this month I’ve met with representatives from Merlin Entertainments, Toys “R” Us, and LEGO Canada, Inc. to name a few. It’s very encouraging to see the hard work that the LEGO Community Team has put into advocating for our AFOL community is beginning to take genuine traction and open new and exciting opportunities for us to share! I am hopeful that we will have more to share on some of these soon. 🙂

Visual guide to confirmed AFOL Conventions and Large-Scaled Exhibitions in North America during 2014.
Visual guide to confirmed AFOL Conventions and Large-Scaled Exhibitions in North America during 2014.

In between the routine meetings and phone calls, I’ve also been working to finalize our 2014 AFOL convention support structure. A convention is an AFOL driven event that offers at least a full days worth of programs for LEGO fans to share and discuss the LEGO hobby (seminars, workshops, presentations, etc.), as well as at least one full day to share their builds and creations with a public audience. Next year, the North American region will host 12 conventions as well as 2 large-scaled AFOL exhibitions. However, speaking with the various event owners leads me to believe we will see a few more make their way to the calendar in the coming months. I am working now to lock in support opportunities for these events such as visiting LEGO personnel, product unveilings, and product donation. There is still much more work to be done here- but it will have to wait until after the holiday!

On that note, I’d like to extend a very Happy Holidays to our AFOL community on behalf of my colleagues on the LEGO Community Team. It has been and continues to be a pleasure and honor to support and advocate for such a wonderfully diverse and passionate fan community. We hope there are lots of rattling boxes of LEGO bricks under your trees this holiday season.

And the winner is…

Hogwarts

After 11 months, nine US AFOL conventions, one ReBrick winner, and ten semi-finalists, we are happy to announce the grand prize winner for the LEGO Castle Anniversary Competition…

Alice Finch’s Hogwarts from Bricks Cascade 2013!

As her grand prize, Alice will receive a one-of-a-kind custom designed and built life-sized LEGO model sword, engraved with her name on the hilt and her title as the LEGO Anniversary Castle Competition Grand Prize Winner. The sword was designed and constructed in the official LEGO model shop in Enfield, CT, and signed by the designer, Master Model Builder Paul Chrzan.

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Thank you everyone who took part. If you brought a castle to an event, added a photo on ReBrick, or just voted for your favorite, we appreciate you taking part and hope to be able to launch similar competitions moving forward.

Amongst the 10 semi-finalists, the judges had a tough time deciding on the winner. The team of judges included:
-Sara Moore, Online Community Specialist working on ReBrick
-Emmett Condon, Assistant Brand Manager for the Castle Product Line
-Master Model Builder Paul Chrzan, who designed and built the grand prize

These judges evaluated entries based on creativity, originality and theme.

Thanks again for taking part! Check out all semi-finalists in the competition in the gallery on ReBrick. Also don’t be shy, congratulate the winner and semi-finalists by leaving a comment on this post or their bookmarks.

EVENT RECAP: Brickfête Montréal 2013

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Right before the US Thanksgiving holiday last week, I was given the wonderful opportunity to travel to Canada for the second time this year and attend the AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) convention: Brickfête Montréal 2013. Thanks to a great deal of hard work and effort by the Brickfête team, the event was brought over to Montréal, Québec for the very first time. I was thrilled by this decision and couldn’t be happier for the continued growth I’ve witnessed from the fan community in Canada.

I was honored to be able to visit this first year event, and had a great time interacting with both AFOLs that have never been able to attend aconvention as well as those I’ve met several times before. This was my first time in Québec and I am happy to report that my complete incomprehension of the French language didn’t inhibit my trip by any means. That being said, the extremely cold temperatures did made a mockery of my light jacket and lack of additional proper winter wear.

I arrived in the area Thursday evening and made my way to the hotel to check in and drop off my luggage. I ran into a contact from LUCNY who was able to give me some quick instructions on how to make my way to the event venue. Following my guide, I popped in to say hello to the event organizers and get my proper credentials. A lot of MOCs (My Own Creation) had already been set-up and there was a mural building activity taking place. After a quick round, I headed back to the hotel for a quick dinner and to rest up for the next day.

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Friday the event was only open to registered AFOL attendees and there were several activities throughout the day including parts drafts, trivia, and a race to sort a bag of random LEGO elements the quickest. The morning hosted the opening ceremonies in which I addressed the attendees with my 2013 AFOL convention presentation where I explain who I am, where I came from within the LEGO Company, my department, and all the ways in which we support the AFOL community. I was very fortunate to have the help of Patrick from QuéLUG there to translate into French for those who needed it, thanks again Patrick!

In the evening I made a point to wander the space and document the absolutely wonderful builds and creations I saw at the event. One of my favorites was a reimagined 10223 Horizon Express as a monorail train; I couldn’t resist snapping a picture with my phone and sending it over to the LEGO set designer, Jamie. Knowing his history with the AFOL community I knew he would love it. 😉 I am also proud to say that I have finally sampled the local dish Poutine, while grabbing lunch. This collection of French fries, cheese and brown gravy has eluded me for the past two years while traveling in Toronto, but I have now corrected this oversight. It was… awesome. ;P

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Saturday the event was opened to public visitors and they quickly filled up the space as the day progressed. It was great to see all the families enjoy the event. There were plenty of great things to look at and a nice play area for them to build and display their creations. In between snapping pictures and engaging with the fans I ducted out for lunch with a few members of QuéLUG, the local fan group in the area. We had a great meal and discussed varying questions and issues such as the LEGO LUGBULK Program, the LEGO Inside Tour, and the LEGO Fan Weekend event in Denmark. As the evening winded down we were regaled by another entertaining LEGO charity auction hosted by Chris from rtlToronto. He definitely has a knack for bringing out people’s laughs and wallets.

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Sunday I woke to even greater frigid temperatures, I spent several minutes trying to open my car door which had frozen shut over night. It was definitely a sign for me to head back home. A huge well done to the Brickfête team once again for bringing this event to a new area, and thank you for the warm welcome I received. This event is my last trip scheduled for 2013. So for inquiring minds, I’ve taken 14 business trips this year: 12 within North America, and 2 overseas to Denmark. I now have several weeks planned for processing a lot of to-do items and 2014 support planning…

My full set of photos can be found in my Flickr photostream HERE