Well, BrickFair 2011 is over and done with. As I am still on the East Coast and in a hotel, I can’t download all my personal photos of BrickFair quite yet –trust me, I have quite a few.
But I did want to at least post my thoughts on the event. This was my first time to this particular event and so far, the farthest East that I’ve gone for a LEGO Convention before. I’ve been to the East Coast before, but not to this particular area.
The thing I like about going to new LEGO Cons is meeting people that you’ve never met before. Now, it’s wonderful to see all your friends of course, in fact LEGO Cons are pretty much the only time I see them in person depending on where they live in relation to me. But I also really love making new friends.
Going to a convention so far from home I didn’t know what to expect. I always have fun at LEGO Cons, you can’t help but not have fun. But you never know what the area will be like, if there are good food accomidations with in walking distance, if a car is needed, or how far from the actual cities or landmarks you will be.
Now that I’ve been to 4 different conventions I’ve learned a few things. LEGO Cons can be expensive, especially when you are so very far from home. When going to a Con expect to spend betwen $800-$1000 for the whole trip minimum — and that doesn’t include the LEGO you buy. That only covers the plane ride or gas for your car, food, and hotel accomidations. If you can share car rides and/or hotel rooms do it, the trip is expensive enough without you having to pay the full price for where you will stay or how you get around.
Bricks by the Bay is the easiest for me to get to, as it is in Northern California and only about an 8-9 hour drive away. I could fly, but with its reltive closeness, I don’t see the need. So for me, I can bring my larger MOCs (My Own Creations) with out too much problems. Depending on where you live the Con may be close or very far away.
BrickWorld is by Chicago, but in the city. It is in fact in Wheeling, Illinos which is 40 minutes north of downtown Chicago. By mistake I flew into the wrong airport, there are two in the area. Fly in to O’Hare if you want to get there. The other one is just too far away any you don’t want to pay the taxi or shuttle fee.
BrickWorld does have resturants within walking distance but they run on the high to expensive side. My best recommendation is either be friends with someone with a car or bring lots of snacks from home so you don’t have to spend all your money on food.
I admit, I prefer to travel on the cheaper side. And even though I like to support the hotel that partners with the LEGO Cons, sometimes the price of the rooms are just too expensive. Its all a matter of convenience versus expense. It is really nice to just go down the elevetor to the convention, but if there is a cheaper alternative nearby and it is within walking distance or I have a car I will probably choose that option.
BrickCon is set at the Seatlle Center right in the heart of downtown. Both food and hotels are within walking distance. The first time I went I drove and stayed near by. Last year I stayed with a friend that lives in the area and rented a car. I was a little farther away, but I could still get around.
Oh, and that is another tip I have for you. If you can, come in on Wednesday to a Con and leave on Monday. I know not everyone can do this, but if you can add a day before and after the actual con, it is easier. Plus if you have any flight delays or unexpected situations pop up, you still have time to get to the Con. Staying an extra day after the Con helps mainly because if you are anything like me, you want to hang out with your friends as long as possible which means late, late nights. That extra day helps you recooperate for all the lost sleep.
I guess I’m lucky in that respect as going to LEGO Cons is part of my job. I don’t go to one now unless I’m a vendor there, because for me, I simply can’t afford it otherwise. And since I own my own business I can take that extra day or two during my trip.
In fact the reason I haven’t posted much since BrickFair ended was that I extended my stay in the area for a few days so I could actually see some of this area. I was in Baltimore yesterday and I’m in D.C. today. Getting the chance to see this nation’s Capitol was an opportunity I wasn’t about to pass up. Plus, now I’ve got much more building ideas to keep for a later date.
BrickFair itself I will cover in a later post, most likely in a day or two when I finally get back home. So for now I’ll sign off.