Building holiday memories, block by Lego block

Despite living in an age of advancing technology, young people still like to play with blocks.

So it was no surprise that many people young and old come out Nov. 26 to build with Lego at the Brix n Blox expo at the Highland Park Community Hall in northwest Calgary.

“It’s awesome seeing the creativity in the builders’ contest,” said Erika Holter, organizer of the show.

“If you really take a good look at the things the 3-7 year old age groups are coming up with, it’s just basically imagination in Lego form.”

Holter organized the first annual convention with her husband, Tim. Both have backgrounds in event planning and show production, as well as being big Lego fans.

“We like to pick up a big Lego set every year and do it as a family as one of our many Christmas activities,” said Erika Holter.

Holter’s two daughters have grown up enjoying Lego, and their eldest helped with the event organization.

“It’s really back to basics,” she said.

“In a time when we have so much access to information, I have a hard time even watching a TV show without being on my phone. But we don’t have that problem when we bust out the Lego set.

“It’s very focused, you’re unplugged, it’s fun and for kids and there are fantastic skills being developed.”

For Spencer Olsen, father of two boys, Lego serves as an all-inclusive toy that excites their imagination.

“It all comes down to making everything out of Lego, so they can build their army jeeps and trucks,” said Olsen.

His sons first got into Lego at their grandparents house, playing with the old blocks that Olsen used in his childhood.

“It’s something they grew into organically on their own.”

Olsen’s oldest, Oslind, submitted a creation in the builders’ contest, winning third place in the age 3-7 vehicles and transportation category.

The competition was split into a variety of categories based on age groups and themes like fantasy and super heroes. More than 65 per cent of the submissions came from competitors under the age of 18.

Other events included free sample classes from the educational facility Bricks 4 Kidz and speed building competitions conducted by the Alberta Institute of Mentors and Builders of Tomorrow (AIMBOT).

AIMBOT is a non-profit organization started by Kristopher Manabo and Donald Parnell of Edmonton. Its goal is to develop a society of Lego users who can help one another learn.

“Our way of giving back [to the community] is to share our experience and our knowledge with Lego, or life using Lego, as an icebreaker,” said Manabo.

“That’s what connects us, pardon the pun.”

After the discontinuation of the Brick Roundup show hosted by the Southern Alberta Lego Users Group (SALUG), the Holters jumped in to fill the gap in the Lego community with Brix n Blox.

“Part of the reason we chose to do it at this time of year is to capitalize on the holiday season,” said Erika Holter.

A Lego diorama sits among many creations entered in the builder's contest for Brix n Blox at Highland Park Community Hall in Calgary on Saturday, Nov. 26. The event was the first annual fan expo for Lego and other construction toys hosted by Tim and Erika Holter. (Photo by Shane Weaver/The Press)
A Cold War: A Lego diorama sits among many creations entered in the builder’s contest for Brix n Blox at Highland Park Community Hall in Calgary on Saturday, Nov. 26. The event was the first annual fan expo for Lego and other construction toys hosted by Tim and Erika Holter. (Photo by Shane Weaver/The Press)
About Shane Weaver 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Shane Weaver is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2016-17 academic year.

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