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Mike Crowley Archive (23)

pictures of NELUG member Mike Crowley for his tribute article

Updated Monday, January 14 2013 @ 09:40 PM EST


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2010 LEGO KidsFest

Other Events/DisplaysOn December 3-5, NELUG participated in the LEGO KidsFest event in Hartford, CT. We arrived on Thursday the 2nd for setup, and discovered that we actually had a slightly LARGER area than anticipated, which turned out to be a welcome surprise, especially after last year's event where we wound up with half the expected space! The overall AFOL/Hobbyist area was about 40'x70', and consisted of two train layouts (one for NELUG and one for PennLUG) and a table for the Great Ball Contraption and general models.

Setup was a bit slow thanks to our relatively smaller crew (compared to our normal shows), but by the end of the day, we had almost everything squared away except for the final minifig placements and small touch-ups. That left us plenty of time on Friday to finish up and get a good look around the event.

The event itself was a lot different than last year! 2009's KidsFest featured a good deal of vendor booths, many of which had nothing to do with LEGO or kids at all! This year, LEGO beefed up the LEGO content and had:
- 3 "monochromatic build" areas, building only with 1 color
- 2 LEGO surprise mosaics
- 2 areas to play LEGO board games
- A LEGO video game zone for LEGO console games
- Some stations to play LEGO Universe
- "Creation Nation" where kids could place their builds on a giant USA map
- Racing challenge, for kids to race their creations
- A bigger LEGO store (about 4 times the size and capacity as last year)
- Santa Claus visit area
- Charity ornament building
- Free building area
- "Bounce House" for kids to jump around in
- Stage for presentations (like "A day with a Master Builder", etc)
- Meetings for LEGO Club members (private room upstairs)
- LEGO displays in minifig scale
- Life-sized LEGO sculptures
- Some concessions (cotton candy, Dunkin Donuts)
- LEGO building contests And of course there was our "AFOL" area, about half of which wound up being NELUG content, and the rest was made up of fans mostly from Canada and PennLUG.

When the doors opened, the crowds made their way in, but didn't wind up being shoulder-to-shoulder like last year. Instead, the crowds were plentiful yet manageable. And fortunately, we didn't hear any horror stories of people being turned away or having inadequate parking. Instead, all the guests we talked to seemed very happy, and of course all the kids were having a blast.

With motors running, trains moving, and the GBC busily churning out soccer balls, we were probably the most popular display area at the event, compared to LEGO's displays which were mostly static. Throughout the weekend, we kept hearing both kids and parents saying that our area was their favorite part of the entire show.

When the doors finally closed late Sunday night, we started breaking down. We were treated to pizza and a small shopping spree at the LEGO store, courtesy of LEGO (thanks, LEGO!). It took a while, but we finally got everything packed up by around 11pm. Hopefully, we can look forward to coming back again next year!
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Public Displays for the Remainder of 2010

Other Events/Displays
Confirmed Shows
NELUG will be attending the Greenberg Train & Toy Show in Manchester, NH for the first time on October 23rd & 24th which will be held in the Expo Center of NH. While this display may be a bit smaller than our standard size Greenberg display, we hope to have a few ghastly surprises waiting for those who come to visit us.
We will also return to Wilmington, MA for yet another Greenberg show held in the Shriner's Auditorium on November 20th & 21st. We heard from a number of people that they missed us at this show last year - thank you!
For more information on any of the Greenberg shows including show times, admission fees and directions, please visit
Potential Shows
NELUG may do a display at the LEGO KidsFest show in Hartford, CT on December 3rd - 5th. Details on this show are still being worked out, so we cannot say for sure whether we will be there or not.
Also, please note that NELUG will NOT be at the LEGO KidsFest in Boston on September 25th & 26th. Some of their promotional materials state that we will be, when in fact, we will not. We have asked the organizers to remove these references to avoid any confusion.
We will post an update as details firm up and decisions are made.
Hope to see you soon!


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A Tale From Greenberg

Other Events/DisplaysFri. March 26
1150 - After a busy morning at work, I grabbed some lunch before heading to Wilmington. Should be OK that I won't be there until later...
1245 - arrived at Shriner's Auditorium only to find that everyone was there and they had already unloaded the trailer! Seems that the message to meet at 1200 meant be here first, then go for lunch. I thought it was the other way around...
1315 - Matt and Chris arrive, bags of food in hand, wondering why no one was at McDonalds. Whew, I wasn't the only one!
1420 - tables are put together according to plan. I got to roll around underneath the tables with the drill securing bolts.
1645 - I needed to leave for a family event. All of my MOCs are now in place. Should be able to help finish up detailing the layout with minifigs and trees tomorrow morning.

Sat. March 27
0835 - arrived early to help finish setting up. Joe bought donuts - yea!! Helped put out minifigs and got the monorail track finalized, hooked up and tested. Eric did a splendid job planning the monorail for this particular layout! Teddy's mountain tunnel is also in place now, looks great.
0950 - Panic! Only 10 minutes left and we haven't tested any of the trains yet! Need to clear the tracks of boxes and bins so we can get done!!
1000 - Whew, made it! The last boxes were stored and the trains are all running exactly at showtime. That was kinda close...
1200 - crowds have been steady but not crushing, which is good. Unfortunately we already lost one train to the floor - Tom's. It was a spectacular crash, too. Pieces everywhere!
1300 - Took the last lunch shift. Decided to bring my own food for one of the two days to keep things kinda healthy. Does a fluffernutter on whole wheat count?
1330 - Am now in one of the two pits with the train speed regulators. Nice change of pace. Get to interact with the crowd a lot from in here. Folks at this show are very respectful of the layout - it's awesome!
1410 - Gee, how many pictures of the layout that people have taken am I in? Maybe I should always smile...
1500 - Done with the pit. Need a bathroom break anyway.
1600 - Show is done for the day. Taking lots of pictures of the layout after all the people are gone. Not happy with my camera settings; need to find the user's manual and figure out what I'm doing wrong.

Sun. March 28
1150 - arrived late as it's Palm Sunday. Meandering around the layout, answering questions and helping with layout issues as needed.
1230 - time for lunch. Got to eat with Linda and Jon. Mmmm, hamburgers...

1600 - Show is officially over! Went really well. Now need to start packing everything...
1630 - All my MOCs are put away. Packing up all of Jamie's monorail stuff. Might be the last show using his magic box of monorail, as he'd like to try to bring it back with him to Denmark next time he comes to visit...
1700 - Carrying all this stuff outside. Amazing that we can get it all into the club trailer!
1730 - All packed and done! 1.5 hours, not bad. The traditional after show dinner is dwindling in size, only 5 of us are going. Changing venues, trying the Horseshoe Grill vs. the Piccadilly Pub.
1900 - Dinner was very good! Place is really nice; I think we'd definitely go there again. Heading home after a fun but tiring weekend. Thanks, everybody!!
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NELUG Helps Reach Sell Out Crowds at LEGO KidsFest 2009

Other Events/Displays

 NELUG, PennLUG and two members of ParLUGment were the clubs who contributed to the AFOL layouts at the first ever LEGO KidsFest run in the USA.  The event was held at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT on 20-22 Nov. 2009, and by lunchtime on Saturday maximum capacity was reached for the first time at the newly constructed venue! 

NELUG contributed substantially to the displays by setting up and running a train and town layout, a space/moonbase display, a display of Steampunk themed airships and MOCs, many other MOCs, and a fully functioning Great Ball Contraption (GBC).  Throngs of people crowded around the three AFOL displays, reaching as much as 5 people deep for most of the 2 1/2 days the event ran.  These displays were definitely the highlight of the show, and were the feature of fans and photographers alike.
NELUG’s now famous train and town layout provided much inspiration and entertainment to the viewing public.  Included on the layout were 4 simultaneously running trains on 4 separate loops,  an automated trolley line, a fully functional carnival that featured working rides and attractions, a LEGO city, a monorail link between the city area and carnival, a residential area, and a rural farm scene.
The space/moonbase display featured two new additions – a space needle styled moonbase module complete with rotating restaurant, and a collection of technic figure scale MOCs. The Steampunk display had many exciting and interesting airships with working rotors/propellers, and many new and interesting MOCs were featured as part of the MOC display including a large collection of airplanes, dinosaurs, and a wonderful pirate themed interpretation of the game Carcassone using 16x16 stud baseplates as the playing pieces.
The GBC, which is essentially a complex series of LEGO technic styled devices that move LEGO soccer balls from left to right, featured a crazy new device - a giant ferris wheel with a 6 foot diameter wheel!  Many ingenious devices were displayed, showing just how innovative some NELUG members can be with their technic skills.  
Despite the large crowds and little time for food and breaks, a wonderful time was had by all who attended.  Folks from The LEGO Group graciously hosted us all for dinner on both Friday and Saturday night, with a special treat of getting to visit LEGO headquarters on Saturday evening as well!  Thanks to all of the NELUG members who participated and put in so much time to make the event a success, and thank you to our friends at The LEGO Group for doing all that you did to accommodate us before, during and after the show.
Pictures of the event can be found in the Flickr pool LEGO KidsFest 2009 and in our Gallery.
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Boston Skyline Comes Out to Play

Other Events/DisplaysA little something for Søren....

Back in early October during the MITO event in Enfield MITO Event, Søren Torp Laursen (the President of Lego Systems North America for those who aren't familiar), approached us to see if we could display something during their Leadership Board meeting.

Søren & his children enjoyed the display in Enfield and was wondering if NELUG could display something though didn't know what at the time. He had seen Nathan Sawaya's sculptures and suggested perhaps NELUG would be able and willing to display something similar. We stated that although we didn't have a 12 foot stegosaurus handy, we suggested the Mosaic of the Boston Skyline that was shown originally at the Boston Home Show and later at Brick Blast 2006.

Søren saw a picture of the mosaic, was duly impressed and thought it perfect for the Leadership Team event. At this point it was coming down to the wire and after some frantic email exchanges, we quickly coordinated with Vince Rubino, the Marketing Program Manager for Lego, and Ann the Westin's Convention Servcies Manager to have a few members help setup this past Sunday the 26th.

If you happen to be in the area before Thursday, I recommend checking it out if you've never seen the mosaic in person. The hotel is the Westin Boston Waterfront located at 425 Summer Street (next door to the World Trade Center). The mosaic is setup on the mezzanine level and will be there until late Thursday, Oct 30th.
For a few more pics check out the gallery.

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