Having been involved with the AFOL online community for some time I have heard of several of these "real-life" events. I thought I had some idea of what to expect from our local LUG meetings (viclug.ca), reading reports and looking at photo galleries on Brickshelf.com and elsewhere.
I experienced activities that seemed familiar from the virtual sources but attending a real event with real people was far more than I could have imagined.
After my first hour onsite I was giddy. Yep, like a schoolgirl and barely able to keep myself from skipping back to my hotel room to grab my MOC for the castle display.
After 24 hours I felt like I had a hangover from an all-night bender yet, I hasten to note, I had not touched anything stronger than a Ding Dong (love those American treats) and a couple of gallons of Coke. I was nearly totally exhausted from the energy that was flowing as I helped set up the Castle display and began to meet fellow AFOL's: Andrew "the wizard guy" who I only discovered was Dunechaser after several hours. Brendan who drove up from California to oversee the first trial of his BPB and 8cres landscaping system. Tom with the biggest MOC's I have ever seen. Caylin with her awesome Rapunzel tower which got Jeremy and Josh and I thinking about a theme/challenge for next year to incorporate "hidden" fairy tales into the castle MOC's.
And those were just a few of the people I met from near and far. Every single one of them sharing the sort of joy I felt at being there. Every one of them in love with the bricks and the endless possibilities they present.
And lets not forget the field trip to the LEGO store where Neil and his staff gave us food and drink while allowing a "virgin" such as myself to revel in the largest selection of LEGO I have ever seen. Approaching the pick-a-brick wall I was actually nervous wanting to see what wonders I would find and afraid lest I find nothing I wanted.
I should not have worried. At least a half a large cup full of flower stems for farm building, jumper plates by the handful, a cool door, some tan window frames and more bits that I cannot remember but will get to be pleaseantly surprised by when I open the cups at home later tonight.
And lets not forget the mini-fig bar! A DOZEN yellow Princess Leia slave girl legs will allow me to equip a large squad of Romans for less than 1/5 the cost of the same parts via Bricklink. Some bits and bobs and a couple of medium sets and I could have been happy at that.
But there was the Brick Bazaar on site with used bits. I was over the moon with 5 cannons (with gun carriages!) included in a $5 pick-a-used-brick bag. There were also the custom bits like some more weapons from Will and a set of Ben's train wheels. At the end of the day the Dirty Brickster saw me steal a My Own Train caboose from Steve Barille!
Now all this acquisition of stuff was good but the most fun was the interactions. The sessions and the time just hanging out with AFOL's was priceless. The time tending the public display and talking to mothers while their kids stood in awe was amazing. The way these kids lit up as they saw the possibilities then the delight as they showed their parents some of the funny or clever details put a huge grin on my face. I love the details too.
The shark attack in the moat surrounding John's huge tower. The guy in the coracle at the base of Josh's lighthouse. The space police brutality towards martians...
I will try to upload pictures later but for right now, thanks to Wayne and Terri and Thomas and Sean and all the others from SEALUG who put on a really great event.
edit: the first few pics:
http://members.shaw.ca/t.godwin/lego/ev ... BC.001.jpg
http://members.shaw.ca/t.godwin/lego/ev ... BC.002.jpg
http://members.shaw.ca/t.godwin/lego/ev ... BC.003.jpg
http://members.shaw.ca/t.godwin/lego/ev ... BC.004.jpg
http://members.shaw.ca/t.godwin/lego/ev ... BC.005.jpg
http://members.shaw.ca/t.godwin/lego/ev ... BC.006.jpg