Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The changing face of adult fan conventions

Are LEGO conventions moving from a gathering of like-minded adults into a place for families and children to connect over a shared love of plastic bricks? That was the big (unanswered question) of BrickWorld this past weekend in Wheeling, IL.

What seemed like an adult convention with a few precocious teenagers in 2008 has morphed into a family friendly universe that is pulling in fans of all ages. The youngest of BrickWorld's 800+ attendees was five years old -- the oldest was 74 years old.

While I'm used to talking with adults at conventions about their creations and assuming that they're attending because they're a passionate LEGO fan, I found myself repeatingly talking to parents who were only attending because of their child's passion. Some built alongside their kids, others appreciated what aduilt builders could do and saw it as inspiration for their children, and many were fans themselves. However, attendance was not a direct indicator of interest.

That last point is the most salient. Fans come in all ages and BrickWorld is starting to be a reflection of that idea. It's an interesting question going forward for the adult fan community, who may need to learn to play nice with children faster than they expected.

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