By: Siobhan Becker, Francesca Campione and John Feinberg
Dressed in a blue and green striped shirt, a young boy stands tall and proud, guarding a small scale model of a cream and beige colored Egyptian pyramid and Sphinx made out of Legos. Just a few feet away, a 7-year-old boy in a graphic T-shirt, proudly displays a small Star Wars spaceship model. Both displays are clearly sign-posted: DO NOT TOUCH.
Stony Brook Village’s Lego Building Contest and Exhibit is a small brick in the wall of the greater Lego-loving community. The third annual event brought together 39 builders and an estimated 1,900 spectators of all ages display the products of their imaginations.
The contest drew in about 1,700 voter ballots, Jenna Loverro, organizer of the event, estimated.
“I LUG New York is a Lego User group for adults age 18-and-up for adults who love Lego,” Brian Wygand, co-founder of ILUGNY of the Lego Users Group of the New York, Tri-State Area, said. “Every time we get together I liken it to Christmas. We do a lot of fun things together. You get to see friends and we get to experience our hobby together.”
Wygand loved building with Legos as a child and rekindled his love for them as an adult when he visited a Lego store while on vacation with his wife in Disney World.
He splits his time between his Lego hobby, family and job as a New York City school teacher. To complete one of the pieces on display, he estimated that he worked three hours a night for two weeks.
Many contestants say that, building with Legos helps them unwind after a long day, and winning the contest is an added perk.
“Lego’s Got Talent was inspired by all the minifigures I had,” 22-year-old Brittany Georgalas, one of the winners of the Stony Brook Contest said “I noticed how unique and detailed each one was and I wanted to emphasize that sometimes it’s not about how big a tower is or how many bricks you use but the details you put into the piece and the little Easter eggs you hide for people to find.”
While there were many contestants of older ages, the month-long exhibition attracted families from all across Long Island.
“I really like the buildings and all the buildings of the big city was really cool,” Gavin, a 7-year-old spectator at the Stony Brook lego event said. “I will continue building Legos and when I get older I want to build what the five people did with the tall buildings.”
Winners of the Stony Brook contest will continue on to larger exhibits with multitudes of competitors. In November, Wygand and the other members of the Lego Users Group will enter competitions in New Jersey and Connecticut, which feature competitors and exhibitors from across the nation. As for Stony Brook, Loverro expects that next year’s competition will bring even more builders and spectators.