TROY — “Everything was awesome” at WACO Air Museum on Saturday, as the aviation learning center held its second annual Brick Blowout, a daylong LEGO-oriented creative event.
“This is the fifth year we’ve done the LEGO contest, but originally, there was no event day,” said Nancy Royer, director of development at WACO. “This is only the second year we’ve tied it to an event day, so we’ve added a lot and bundled it together.”
Builders of all ages were eligible to enter in WACO’S building contest, with this year’s theme being “First Responders: Our Real Heroes.” All LEGO submissions were separated by age group, including ages 5-8, ages 9-12, ages 13-17, and adult.
The 45 submissions on display were ranked by a panel of judges. “People’s Choice Voting” also took place, allowing attendants to distribute tickets into special canisters placed in front of each submission.
All entrants received a participation prize, with grand prizes awarded to winners in each age group. Prizes consisted of gift cards to various local businesses.
Along with the building contest, Brick Blowout featured a LEGO building zone, a LEGO market featuring various vendors, a LEGO scavenger hunt, and a screening of “The LEGO Batman Movie” with complimentary refreshments.
On site were representatives from the Ohio Kentucky Indiana LEGO Users Group, or OKI LUG, who featured large table displays housing dozens of scale modular buildings, vehicles, and operable trains.
Greeting guests at the museum entrance were a special range of first responders, including representatives from the Troy Police Department, Troy Fire Department, and Sinclair UAS Drone Department, with first responder vehicles on site for guests to explore.
According to Royer, Brick Blowout started out of a need to keep their already-active roster of kids busy during colder months.
“Besides the museum and aviation piece, WACO is a STEM learning center,” Royer said. “We actually say we’re a STEAM learning center, standing for science, technology, engineering, aviation, and math. Because we are STEAM, we have robotics teams. We had five teams of kids building with LEGOs, and when that ended, there was still a lot of winter left and kids still wanting to do something with their time. We developed a building project for kids, and made it a contest. That’s how the Brick Blowout got started.”
Royer and the rest of WACO’s staff hope that Brick Blowout will bring positive exposure to the museum and its programs.
“So many people live in our area and don’t even know what we exist or what we’re about,” Royer said. “This event gets people through our doors to see the airplanes that we have, and realize that we’re a piece of history to Troy.
“Obviously, another part of our goal is to get kids out of the house and have a good time. This is a good time of year to have it, because it’s not quite warm enough to get out and do many outdoor activities.”
Brick Blowout is expected to be reprised in 2019, and Royer says those who were unable to make it to this year’s Blowout can still participate online.
“People can go to our website, look at the 45 entries, and vote online for their favorites,” Royer said. “We’re currently building a new STEAM learning center for further education, and votes online will help support that. All profits today are going toward our new learning center.”
The new center will tentatively be completed at WACO in September 2018, with construction starting in April.
The WACO Air Museum and Aviation Learning Center is a non-profit organization, with the goal of inspiring and educating through hands-on aviation-related projects.
For more information, visit www.wacoairmuseum.org.