Raleigh braces for Lego mania
Posted October 5, 2011 5:00 a.m. EDT
Updated October 5, 2011 8:20 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — For many people, the days of using imagination to build Lego brick cities didn't stop with childhood.
Aaron Wartner started playing with the plastic building blocks when he was 3 years old. Now, it's part of his career.
"I had my own room that was a Lego room. I'd build cities," said Wartner, the vice president of sales and marketing for Lego KidsFest.
Lego KidsFest takes over the Raleigh Convention Center Friday through Sunday.
The event will have hands-on classes and expertly created models of characters including Batman and Spongebob Squarepants.
For children who aren't as Lego-savvy, Lego-themed videogames will be set up, and other activities will be available that do not involve building, Wartner said.
Before you go, it is important to learn the lingo. The term "Lego" applies to the company only. The actual building blocks are called bricks. The larger blocks are called Duplos.
Children at the Marbles Kids Museum on Tuesday used Duplos to create bridges. After they finished, the bridges were put to the test to see how sturdy they were. The activity, which will also be part of Lego KidsFest, is designed to help children learn to work together and practice problem-solving skills.
"We want to inspire that next generation of creative builders ... mathematicians and engineers," Wartner said.
That commitment to the future is what keeps Lego accessible to all ages, Wartner said.
"As children and how they play progresses, Lego as a toy progresses," he said. "We make sure we are keeping in line with how kids learn these days. I think that is one of the great things about Lego. When you go to the event, you see grandpa next to mom next to the kids and everyone is playing because it is one of those toys. It is a universal toy."
Raleigh is a hotbed for Lego enthusiasts of all ages, with 40,000 fan club members within a three hour drive, according to company officials.