Aaah, BrickCon. That magical time each fall when hundreds of LEGO fans descend upon the Exhibition Center in Seattle for a relaxing weekend of fun, friendship, and sleep.
Wait. I’m kidding. Sleep never enters the equation.
BrickCon has morphed quite a bit for me from my first event to now. I began attending BrickCon in 2005 (it was NorthWest BrickCon at that point). The ENTIRE event fit into the Rainier Room, which now is just the general assembly room. This year marked my seventh BrickCon and ninth overall event.
Time flies when you’re having fun, right?
What’s also changed quite a bit for me is how I experience BrickCon. In the beginning, I was simply an attendee. I registered, I went, I showed off my MOCs, and I went on my merry way. I’d help out coordinating the Castle display when I could. But in 2009, that changed. At one of the SEALUG meetings, it was mentioned that they needed someone to coordinate prizes. “I can do that,” I thought. So I stepped up.
So there’s the story of how I became Prize Coordinator for BrickCon. I can blame (thank?) Sean Forbes for the “Prize Goddess” moniker, and that’s the one that stuck.
Determining which prize goes what, where, and to who is an entirely scientific process, but not really. It’s taking a look once again at what I have to work with and spreading it across the four major ceremonies that have door prizes (Opening, Keynote, Awards, Closing). Making sure those are dividing properly and separate from what goes to the public is important, too. Part of my job ensures that any incoming prizes are dividing amongst the various pools, too, so that one event isn’t too overloaded. I try and keep Closing as short as possible, too, since by that time people typically are packing to head home.
This year we added a sort of “Santa Claus” prize pool for public and private hours. During the public hours, volunteers would wander around the crowds and hand small sets (provided by the con) and kid’s t-shirts (provided by the LEGO Store in Bellevue) to the kids. Watching their faces was amazing; the look of disbelief was typically first, followed by the giant smile. There was some suspicion that the gifts were completely free, but it was pretty easy to work around. Anyone who passed out those prizes had the same smile.
It’s incredibly busy working with the prizes. In terms of BrickCon, if it didn’t involve prizes, I typically had no information or clue about it. My focus was prizes; I needed to be available to receive incoming donations and prep for the next assembly. I had enough time in between assemblies to enjoy spending time with my friends and enjoying BrickCon for what it is.
Thanks to Joe Meno, Andrew Becraft, and Bill Ward for their photos!