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Lego-mania on the Plateau
LEGOS have certainly evolved over the years and increased in popularity with both the young and old.
Over 300 kids registered to participate in "Build it Sammamish," Saturday at city hall commons. A first time for the event, Anne Schaefer with the Sammamish Arts Commission said they had to turn kids away.
"It's a way for kids to be creative and tie their piece into Sammamish," Schaefer said.
The Sammamish themed creations were for the kids competing in a competition; the other tables were free-form. The guru of the even was Dan Parker, a LEGO Certified Professional, one of only 12 master LEGO artists worldwide with the qualification.
"I'm the only one west of Chicago," Parker said.
With a studio in Tacoma called City Blocks, Parker has created custom pieces for everything from children's educational workshops to corporate events. He said LEGOS are a creative medium, an art, that is not just limited to kids anymore. He has a team that works with him, but he likes to stay very hands-on for quality control.
"I'm very particular," he said.
Several stations were set up around the room, with Parker advising volunteers to be sure the LEGOS didn't migrate from station to station. For example, tables were set up with LEGOS specific to themes such as castles, dinosaurs, Star Wars, Znap (engineering) and classic.
"I just want to be sure people are happily building," he said.
Parker quit building with LEGOS when he was 10, picking it up again when he was 30-years-old. That was 22 years ago. He had worked as a research engineer, and could see the applications.
"I thought about building custom furniture, gun-smithing, or LEGOS, and LEGOS won out."
He recently put together a display for the train show at Seattle's Pacific Science Center, using 30,000 pieces. He's also built an entire life-size nativity scene - all out of LEGOS. With all the LEGOS to work with, Rituja Indapure of Klahanie said "it feels like home."
Her son, Tanush Korder, 9, started building with LEGOS when he was 3, and has LEGOS all over the house she said. Kellan Pryal, 8, has also been at it for years. He was at the castle table, creating his first castle. His family lives on the plateau. At the little kid's station, tots played with bigger LEGOS, including little 1 and 1/2-year-old Victoria Davis, who practices at home with her big sister, Elizabeth, said their mom Carrie Davis of Sammamish.
Kids competing for fun prizes had to bring their own LEGOS from home, and were at special tables with their names on placards. Duncan Barber, 10, is a fourth-grader at Christa McAuliffe Elementary. He brought an entire duffel bag full of his own LEGOS.
"I have 10 times more at home," he said.
He was working on a house structure, complete with a little computer inside. His mom, Leslie Barber, said he received the LEGO Death Star set for Christmas, which has 4,000 pieces and a 260-page instruction manual. He and his brother put it together in three days she said.
Kellan Pryal, 8, has been building with LEGOS his whole life he said. He was working on a castle, something he hadn't built before.
Victoria Davis, 1 1/2, works on a train track at the little kid's station.
Duncan Barber, 10, was in the competitive area, where the kids had to bring their own LEGOS. He was working on a structure that even had a little computer in it.