Lego Brick Fair Review

We were able to attend the 2012 Brick Fair at the Dulles Expo Center thanks to some comp tickets from Washington Family Magazine.  (The same fine folks that sponsored our giveaway to the same event).  I know a lot of you were wondering about the event, so here's my breakdown.

When we arrived, we were seriously nervous about The Line.  The Line looked like it was going to take us the better part of half an hour to get to the actual door to the Expo Center.  We were pleasantly surprised, however, to find that the line moved quickly and we were in the door in about nine minutes.  Once we were inside, we were definitely in awe of the fantastic Lego creations.  Children as young as nine can present their pieces at Brick Fair, with the chance to win awards.  There are also custom Lego vendors, our friends from Hallabolou were there, and there was a wicked game of Lego bingo going on when we arrived.  The ticket encouraged you to allow at least three hours to make it through, and maybe we're big losers, but we did it in 50 minutes.  Here's why.

We went with our kids who are 8, 6, and 4.  The little ones were definitely wowed by several of the displays, especially the ones that moved like the ball movers, robots, and giant roller coaster.
They were even still happy at the end of our time at the Brick Fair, but nobody complained that we were leaving, either.  They did ask if we could stop at the ice cream store on the way home.

 The kids presenting were absolutely amazing and created some awesome scenes! I was completely impressed by how some of the youngest exhibitors produced such amazing results! Each category, and there were several, had gorgeous entries.
 We especially liked the things that moved, whether they were robots, roller coasters, ball movers, or magnetized displays.
 He blinded me with science.
THIS IS ALL MADE OF LEGOS!!! This is what I could accomplish if I didn't blog and had some kind of measurable artistic skill! 

The cars were also a big hit with my kids.

So, if everything was so impressive, why didn't we take longer? The little ones enjoyed looking but were, honestly, overwhelmed by all there was to see.  You can't really touch anything, and Legos are toys to most children, so it's kind of like walking through a giant bakery with no glass over the treats.  You find yourself reminding little fingers not to touch fairly often.  Our oldest probably would have wandered around a little longer and looked at different items, but there's not really room to wander.  It's a lot more like being herded through like cattle:
Oh, hello hundreds of our closest friends!! Our children's biggest complaint was that there wasn't a ton of hands-on.  There is a small game section near the exit, but they really wanted to go and see cool things and then sit down somewhere and build with Legos.  Instead, we stood in a slow moving line that wrapped around the building and just looked.  Don't get me wrong, everything was amazing, but it was crowded and slow and not as interactive as we usually like to be.  It's kind of like a Lego museum, and you know my favorite museums are free :)

Tickets are $10 a pop, so while we enjoyed it this time, we all agreed that we probably wouldn't go back if we had to pay $50.  The kids liked it, but not enough to justify the cost.

Agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


  1. We've been to the BrickFair 3x and I have to agree. There needs to be a bigger section of stuff for the small kiddos to do. A few years back (when it was at the Sheraton Tyson's Corner) they had a "build room" where there were 1000s of legos on the floor and it was my kids favorite part.

    I've been confused for years why the event is only 2 5-hour days. Why are they only open from 11-4 each day? This has been a huge pain each year and this year we looked at going, but due to schedules could only make it for about an hour, so only my hubby and son went. My son loved it of course (he's 13 and would love to be Mayor Brick Fair). But since they're already paying for the space and advertising, wouldn't it make sense to be open until 6pm even? Also being there for only an hour, still cost the 2 guys $20bucks. Why would they still be charging full price? Overall it's an awesome event, but it definitely could use some tweeks to make it even cooler - for everyone.

  2. This was my second year attending BrickFair. It was also the first year my son made and displayed a MOC (My Own Creation). It was such a great self-esteem builder for my son as many people asked him questions about his creation. I believe the hours are short as the MOC creators are to be at their MOC's in case of questions. While the short hours might be a pain for some, it allows me to take my son home to run off some steam after sitting fairly still for 5 hours and to still have some time to spend with family. Also many of the MoC's come from out of state so on Sunday they all try to pack up to head home for long drive.
    I know in the past they had a build area, in addition to a moon bounce for the younger set. I personally was happy they didn't have the moon bounce as many parents dropped their kids off without supervision and then went to look around. I also noticed last year that some kids took some of the legos they built in the build areas and the parents didn't say anything about putting it back. It makes it hard to police those areas. I did like the ramps they had this year so you could race a car you built. I think it should cost less for kids under 10.