September 17, 2005

18 Sep 2005 - {"display_name"=>"houghpt", "login"=>"houghpt", "email"=>"", "url"=>""}

All in all the event went really well photos and summary will follow soon...

On Saturday, September 17, 2005, TexLUG-SA was invited to present a LEGO Town display at the San Antonio WAHM Expo, which took place at the Alzafar Shrine Center near Blanco Rd and Loop 1604. Most folks participating in the convention had to pay for their booths, but TexLUG was honored with a free booth (actually two) with the understanding that we would put on a decent display and provide an area for the kids (and some adults) to build their own creations.

I arrived precisely at 10:05 AM and discovered that Chris Macdougald had already arrived some minutes earlier with wife Connie. I was able to locate Chris and Connie through use of my cell phone and Chris met me up front to unload my small contribution to the display (a harbor scene on 8 32x32 baseplates) plus some accessory material. Once Chris and I had completed the unloading of vehicles, the building began in earnest. Ideally, we wanted to be setup by 11:00 AM when visitors to the convention were to be allowed through the doors. I have to say, however, that despite the fact that we did not complete the basic display until around 11:15 AM, we managed to accomplish in 55 minutes what would have taken six of us to complete in double the time a few years back.

The results were, with all humility, outstanding considering the small assemblage we had and the enormity of detail that went into the display. In just under one hour, Chris, Connie, and I had managed to:

Chris brought along the majority of his collection which, even incomplete, still lacked the space to put even half of it on the table. My own harbor area occupied the rightmost forward corner (facing the aisle away from the booth), and Chris joined up with my blue baseplates to complete the harbor area. Connie was a HUGE help and without protest accepted the various assignments that wives of collectors like Chris inevitably find themselves performing. It was Connie who helped Chris with unloading all the storage bins containing his many assembled sets, it was Connie who, at my beg for help, placed all 42 little tires (stripped from as many wheels) around the docks in my harbor so that they would take on that harbor look. It was also Connie that saved us by being the food gopher that day.

Chris is becoming more adventurous in the creation of MOCs with each event, and Saturday was no exception. Chris really outdid himself this time with a miniature golf course, a full zoo complete with aquarium which featured a well-known professional basketball player (who shall remain nameless in this recollection) getting eaten by a shark (a "sha'k attack" get it?), and a house that was carefully designed to blend in well with the commerical house sets from LEGO which Chris put all around. Especially cool was the fact that he had brought along two miniature tubs, one filled with vehicles of all sorts which acted as filler on the roadplates, and the "tree-tub" which I promptly emptied as I dispersed them all around the display in what I thought were appropriate areas. I
only brought five trees of my own.

Anyway, the amount of success that a display reaps (or doesn't) is measurable solely by the reactions of those members of the public who happened by our booths. In this, I can safely state that TexLUG-SA helped the organization as a whole to earn yet another A in Enthusiasm.

There were all manner of young children present of all ages, with some being participants in the convention and some being visitors. Initially we Chris, Connie, and I were a little apprehensive as the 30+ members of a aerobics/dance/cheerleading team ranging from ages 4 to 16 used the aisleway in front of our display to perform some minor calesthenics. We also performed the familiar battle of the barrier as we struggled throughout the day to keep various children in unguarded moments as they "made the run" in their eagerness to touch various elements of the display. But all in all, it was good fun.

I almost forget to mention that Chris managed to mount a wireless CCTV transmitter inside the engine of the train he set up, so that the view from inside the engine could be seen on a nearby TV he and Connie had brought along (with everything else). After one minor mishap in which the train derailed after "running over" a minifig, Chris graciously stuck a Jar-Jar Binks minifig next to the track in such a way that it appeared to be run down on TV everytime the train made a pass. Ah, my favorite scene in the whole show.

The kids were ESTATIC about the building area, and of course several kids wanted us to keep their MOCs intact (at least for the duration that the kids were present), so half of the literature table became devoted to displaying the kids' MOCs.

But most stunning of all was the level of praise and curiosity levelled on TexLUG as a whole by the large numbers of adults that wandered by, with or without kids in their entourage. Concerned parents asked a number of intelligent questions, with the most prominent being "What does TexLUG do?" We tried to answer that with a combination of literature, descriptions of past meetings, and our own enthusiasm.

One of the folks who came to visit us was a woman who owns the Blue Cactus Cafe along with other members of her family. She herself had three boys along who were active participants in the LEGO building, and she invited TexLUG-SA to meet at the Blue Cactus Cafe in future meetings. She gave each of us a 8.5 x 11 blue handout with a small calendar detailing events that will take place at the cafe in September, as well as featuring a full menu on the back. Chris and I are thinking about meeting there one of these months. Primarily, their offerings are in the BBQ-potato salad-beans-coleslaw range, although I am somewhat eager to try out their "BBQ Nachos" followed by a plate of meatloaf and two sides. They are located in an state-recognized historical building (former Wetmore General Store and Post Office) at 13525 Wetmore Road, one block north of Thousand Oaks. They have live entertainment and other events throughout each month. Their phone numbers are (210) 490-7330 for general info and (210) 355-0587 for reservations. Website is

Another solid event, even with just the three of us, and Chris and I truly feel that we made further progress in educating the public about who TexLUG is and what we do. I leave Chris and Connie to add their own observations and anything I left out.

- Pat Hough

Update Photos
Brickshelf - Chris & Connie's Photos