Celebrating Lego at Ann Arbor's 'Brick Bash'
Lego aficionado from around Ann Arbor and beyond assembled for the annual Brick Bash Exhibit at Washtenaw Community College on Saturday.
The event attracted vendors, enthusiasts, and fans from Toronto, Chicago, and Southeast Michigan, as they eagerly shared their creative constructions with hundreds of visitors.
“It all started when I got my box of Lego back from my mother,” explains Duane Collicott, organizer of Brick Bash. "Nothing I built was big enough.”
Collicott shared the Lego with his sons, and he and his wife, teacher Allison Collicott, marveled at the creativity that the play encouraged.
Shortly after he attended a Lego event in Chicago, “I came back and said we need something like this in Ann Arbor.”
Collicott formed a non-profit organization, Bricks for Brains, and the Brick Bash is the organization’s main event each year.
The creations on display ranged from 2 foot square Lego mosaics of famous artistic works to large cities with working trains and lights, to small projects shared by local kids.
Aleks Oslapas of Dearborn said this was his second year attending as an exhibitor. The 14-year-old calls his knack for Lego a hidden talent, and he brought a Lego Village and a WWII reenactment scene along to display. Neither was made from a kit.
Oslapas estimates he has up to 100,000 Lego pieces at home, and is inspired by TV shows (like "Band of Brothers"), or things he sees in his everyday life. He gets most of his Lego pieces on line oor at specialty Lego stores. Brick Bash is a chance to share his work.
“It's fun to bring out stuff to display and talk to people about the displays. It’s a great free event.”
Zander Albercook, a 13-year-old student at Ann Arbor Open School, attended both as a fan and exhibitor for the locally run summer camp series, Rocks and Robots.
“Rocks and Robots is a summer camp for ages 7 - 17; the rocks part - we go rock climbing where we do outdoor activities and team building, problem solving, that kind of stuff. Then you get to come in and build robots using NXT sets, and program them on the computer.”
Albercook participates and helps out as a camp counselor for the organization, founded by his father, teacher George Albercook. He readily admits to building with Lego every day.
“I like to build the sets from the Star Wars series.”
Brick Bash invites sponsors like local schools like Summers-Knoll, and small Lego vendors like etsy’s Abbie Dabbles to participate in the exhibit.
But the main attraction for many local attendees seems to be Collicott’s personal Lego collection that he spreads out along tables through the center of the exhibit hall.
“I love all this Lego!” a preschooler cheers, as her mom takes a photo with her camera phone.
Angela Smith is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com.