The train derailment was fraught with the potential for mayhem, as pizza and Ninja Turtles sailed through the air at Bemis Library.
But it does help to have a contingent of dedicated hobbyists on hand to pick up the pieces — and snap them back together.
The library on Saturday hosted the creations of the Denver Lego Users’ Group and the Colorado/Wyoming Lego Users’ Group, whose members had spent hours the night before assembling a massive Lego city, complete with operating trains, a working carousel, Batman and at least a few aliens.
“It’s fun to show off and see the kids’ reaction,” said Reed Yaeger, a member of the Denver group. “It’s nice to know we can build something to this size and scale and have a lot of fun doing it.”
Jacob Sunga, 11, said after examining the interlocking city: “It’s awesome. I haven't built anything this big this yet. But I want to.”
Jacob was just one of many Lego enthusiasts who ogled the display that filled three tables in the library. Jacob took mental notes to apply to his future creations as he walked around the tables.
“My favorite thing I’ve ever built was my large mansion. A week later, I tore it all apart and built something else with it,” Jacob said. “I love it because I have the ability to build whatever I want with the pieces.”
The unlimited options the plastic building blocks provide is one reason that Ian Davis, a member of both groups, still loves Legos.
“Building with the group is a little bit like a guilty pleasure,” Davis said.
Davis, who helped organize the event, said that like many kids he grew out of Legos when he hit high school. But once he was reintroduced to the blocks as an adult, he fell in love again with the unlimited creative possibilities.
“I love the engineering side of this,” Davis said. “The larger you get with what you’re building, the weight of the pieces becomes a real factor. So you have to make sure you're building it structurally sound.”
It’s a love he’s now sharing with his 12-year-old son. Davis said he and his son have been working on more and more complicated projects since they started building together six years ago.
“That’s the best part for me now. It’s a hundred times better when I get to spend all day building with him than building with these guys. He comes to me and says, ‘Can we build something that can go down the stairs?’ or “Can we make this car go really fast?’ And I say, ‘Yeah let’s try it.’
“These blocks last. And so do children’s memories of building them. They get to create and use their hands. You can’t replicate that with something else like playing video games.”
Lego history and facts
While the family-owned corporation started in Denmark in 1932, the company’s classic plastic blocks weren’t patented until 1958, and the famous Lego figurines didn’t debut until 1978. Yet since the two were introduced, Lego has been prodigious in producing them.
Lego calculates it has made enough plastic blocks for everyone on the planet to own 86 pieces. In 2012 alone, the company made 45.7 billion blocks. And the figurines aren’t fare behind. Lego estimated it has produced more than 4 billion of them to date.
And in case you were wondering how many things you can create with the toy, Lego said a computer simulation using six of the eight-stud pieces, the standard Lego piece, found 915,103,765 different combinations.