Event reports from previous TNVLC shows.
This year we had the awesome opportunity to participate in Knoxville's annual "Fantasy of Trees" event which supports the East Tennessee Children's Hospital. This year saw in excess of 60,000 visitors and raised over $400,000 for the hospital! The event features a convention center full of decorated Christmas trees, ginger bread houses and other assorted holiday activities and we were offered a prime spot on the main thoroughfare.
To fit in with the theme of the event we elected to build a life-size Christmas tree complete with ornaments and presents, all out of LEGO bricks and no kragle! Over a dozen members from the Knoxville and Nashville chapters pitched in and in about a month's time we were able to complete the 6' tree and all the trimmings.
Over the years we've gained a lot of experience transporting models, but this one felt different. Despite extra precautions, we found out why when we arrived on site...
Fortunately it went back together fairly quickly and survived the entire week on display without a problem. It drew a lot of attention and we received a bunch of positive comments on it but mostly we were all just very happy to be able to support such a great event.
Over the weekend of October 8 & 9, 2016, the Nashville chapter
presented BrickBlast at the main branch of the Nashville Public Library in
The library turned
over their largest conference room to contain all things LEGO for the weekend. There was a great turnout with 24 TNVLC members from
Nashville, Huntsville and Knoxville chapters involved.
The visitor head count was 673 people for the
Visitors enjoyed the play areas, including Duplo, Bionicle
and giant piles of green 2x4s, as well as regular system bricks, and also
bingo, trivia competitions and a scavenger hunt.
Our display included a 50 foot long collaborative train
layout encompassing Huntsville buildings
We had a Great Ball Contraption thanks to Rafe and Pete
A quickly growing Micropolis
Doug's highly detailed medieval village
James beautiful historic MOC's, all with hidden compartments
David McClatchey put together an enormous display of LEGO
space themes from Classic Space
There were Habitats, something new for TNVLC
A lovely group of Pokemon which were very popular
Kyle brought his UCS Millenium Falcon to show off to people
and along with Jacob's SW MOCs made a great display of big Star Wars builds
TNVLC Huntsville friends John and Chris brought a mine and a
Superman made an appearance
It was all in all a fantastic weekend where we got to meet
lots of LEGO fans, young and old, who may not have heard of us previously.
Thanks to everyone who came out to see us,
the library for hosting us and our members for all their hard work.
On August 6, we had the privilege of participating in Robotics Revolution, a STEM promotion event organized by The MUSE in Knoxville. This is a really neat event which brings together organizations from across the region to get kids interested in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. As the name implies, there's a large robotics component including a bunch of FIRST LEGO League teams. One of the really interesting activities during the day was a sumo bot competition which consisted of teams pitting LEGO Mindstorms based robots against each other complete with stage, bleachers and an announcer!
This was the first year the second floor was opened and we were honored to be the anchor for this area. It was really an ideal perch to view the activities of the day and we setup a couple of play areas as well as our largest Knoxville display so far.
We had a great turnout from the club wth 17 members participating including Mike from Huntsville and the Joy's from Nashville. Public attendance was also strong with over 1600 visitors for the day. This continued the trend of increased public interest year over year for this event.
Our play areas proved to be quite popular with a huge amount of interest in the simple 2x4 green brick. It was quite interesting to watch the piles of brick morph throughout the day into larger and larger creations.
For our displays, we assembled our largest Great Ball Contraption to date with support from GBC Guru Tom Atkinson and the Huntsville chapter who both provided a generous supply of balls. We also displayed several standalone MOCS, a Micropolis layout, a Mindstorms brick sorter and a large train layout.
Thanks to everyone for their hard work making this happen, The MUSE for again being outstanding hosts and to all the public who came out to see what we were up to!
Jennifer Garlen, vice president of the Huntsville chapter, represented TNVLC at the Bailey Cove Library on Tuesday, July 19, to help with a LEGO program for children and debut a new activity for the club. The LEGO puzzle activity proved to be a big hit with the children who attended the event, even though most of the children present were younger than the age group for which the puzzle program was originally designed. About a dozen children participated in the hour long activity and learned how to solve different kinds of puzzles built from LEGO bricks. Children first learned to solve a puzzle box and then moved on to more traditional puzzles. Children and their parents also received instructions for how to build their own LEGO puzzles at home. In the future, TNVLC will be able to bring the puzzle activity to both large club shows and smaller venues like classrooms and library branches. Members interested in building their own LEGO puzzles can ask Jennifer for links to the instructions!
Members of the Huntsville chapter helped students at the University of Alabama in Huntsville take a break during finals week with a casual stay-and-play event in the UAH Salmon Library. Nearly a dozen members showed up on Sunday, April 24, from 4 to 8 pm to host the program for students, which featured a large supply of play brick as well as some member MOCs. UAH librarian Annie Matthys invited the club as part of the library's effort to support students with fun events during finals week. Numerous students paused to enjoy the LEGO, and several stayed for nearly an hour to build and recharge. Students also enjoyed talking with club members about their past enjoyment of LEGO bricks and their participation on school LEGO robotics teams. It was especially fun to see the creative things the students built when presented with a huge heap of loose brick!
The Huntsville chapter of TNVLC hosted the first Books and Bricks workshop of 2016 at the main location of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library on Saturday, February 13. Participating members for this event were Mike and Amelia Goldston, Bill Boettner, Jennifer Garlen, and David and Cate Sparks. 22 children attended the "medieval madness" themed program, in which participants created their own medieval MOCs out of LEGO bricks. Several small LEGO prizes were awarded to creative builders, and every child got to take his or her creation home along with a bag of bricks. Members helped children with their builds and brought a handful of medieval themed MOCs to inspire the workshop participants. Librarian Melissa Shuman also provided a selection of medieval themed children's books that could be checked out after the event.For more images of this event, check out our Books & Bricks 2016 Flickr page.
All three chapters of the Tennessee Valley LEGO Club
gathered in Birmingham, AL, during the Martin Luther King Day weekend for BrickFair AL 2016, which drew over 7,000 public day visitors to the convention center. The club presented its largest collaborative display yet, with 48 tables of town and train, and individual members brought dozens of smaller MOCs to share with convention attendees and the public. Returning members enjoyed catching up with BrickFair friends from all over North America, and new members got a chance to see the club operating at full power. TNVLC members ran games, gave seminar talks, worked display areas, and volunteered for a wide variety of jobs to make BrickFair AL a huge success.
With members on hand from Huntsville, Nashville, and Knoxville, it was easy to spot the distinctive TNVLC club shirts on the convention center floor!
Bill Boettner manned the boat race from inside the hotel pool.
Peter Campbell gave interviews about the TNVLC collaborative display.
Chris Bolton called (with support of many of club members) bingo for hours on end.
Jenni Joy shepherded the newly organized Nashville chapter through their first convention, Will Ellett posted convention updates on social media, and David Bissell coordinated a massive train layout.
Teen members like Ethan Wales, Caleb and Logan Ellett, Amelia Goldston, and Cate Sparks contributed their time and enthusiasm, too. Whether they were in Micropolis, Castle, Great Ball Contraption, or the club display area, TNVLC folks helped each other and the public have a wonderful time.
We will be posting more photos of BrickFair Alabama 2016 throughout the week. You can see a photo gallery and a short video about BrickFair AL on the AL.com
The Tennessee Valley LEGO Club partnered with Huntsville's Sci-Quest museum to bring BrickBlast 2015 to the public on December 5-6. More than 1800 visitors enjoyed the largest club display yet over the weekend, with members from both the Knoxville and Nashville chapters helping the Huntsville chapter with the show. In addition to a massive collaborative town and train display, the the show featured robots, Micropolis, and additional MOCs as well as informational talks and bingo.
Crowds throughout the weekend remained steady, and the TNVLC event was promoted on several local news channels. Visitors to the science center were able to maximize the value of the cost of admission by enjoying the club show as well as the museum's regular exhibits. Sci-Quest staff showed their appreciation for the club with homemade meals and snacks to keep the TNVLC crew going from 9-6 on Saturday
and 12-4 on Sunday
. The museum also provided an incredible space for the main display that allowed the club to stretch its collaborative layout to record size.
Special thanks go out to Lee Burns for taking the point role in leading this show and to David Bissell for planning the huge train layout. The final result was an amazing display that club members enjoyed just as much as the public! If you missed it at Sci-Quest, TNVLC will be taking the collaborative layout and even more MOCs to Brickfair in Birmingham on January 16-17, 2016