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The LEGO Show, organised by the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority, returned to the island for a third round of brick-building fun just in time for Eid Al Fitr celebrations.
Reporter Kristian Harrison took up his bucket with photographer Honey Sharma to join families from across the region who flocked to the attraction.
As someone who has a cursed history with LEGO bricks, having stood on the blighters too many times to count to be met with searing pain, I’m usually of a mind to avoid the famous brand rather than seek it out.
However, a couple of years ago I attended a large LEGO event in Bahrain and was won over by the sheer variety and possibilities of the coloured blocks. Therefore, with the return of the LEGO Shows event to the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre, I excitedly hurried down there for an opportunity to see what was new in the world of plastic.
Bringing together a mixture of LEGO stalls, brick-building opportunities and themed areas, this was an event designed to provide a platform for the community and fans of all ages to engage with fun and exciting experiences based around the famous building blocks.
Entering the exhibit hall, I was greeted by a fantastic display of local culture … presented in LEGO. There was a camel seated regally on a sand dune, a member of the nobility dressed in a smart black thobe, jewellery, gahwa jugs, market stalls and every other Arabic staple you can think of carefully crafted from the little bricks.
Moving quickly on, there was a giant enclosed area filled with millions of LEGO pieces and almost as many children running around finding the next brick they needed for their masterpiece.
Yes, running around. Barefoot. In a pool of LEGO. Those brave, brave souls did not know what they were in for … a more innocent-looking, but lethal, weapon you will never find than a stray brick on the floor.
The LEGO Group is a privately held company based in Denmark. The company’s flagship product consists of colourful interlocking plastic bricks accompanying an array of gears, figurines and various other parts. They were first manufactured in 1949.
The pieces can be assembled and connected in many ways, to construct objects such as vehicles, buildings and working robots. More than 600 billion parts have been produced and in 2015, LEGO replaced Ferrari as Brand Finance’s ‘world’s most powerful brand’.
It’s impossible to escape the toy company’s multimedia juggernaut these days, what with movies, video games, theme parks and almost every other facet of entertainment catered for. They were all represented here, with a cinema showing re-runs of The LEGO Movie and LEGO Batman, PlayStation 4 consoles on display for visitors to play the games, and full-size cars and boats for children to pretend they’re on a ride.
One of my favourite areas was the mosaic that displays a ‘Welcome to Bahrain’ display with a full skyline. Although it was only halfway to completion when I attended, parents and children alike were feverishly working away at fulfilling the masterpiece, with a sheet of paper outlining where each different coloured brick should go. Then, once completed, the A4-sized slab of LEGO would be added to the mosaic on the floor.
I gave the Disney Princess area a rather wide berth, and the Ninjago-themed assault courses where a parade of screaming kids were jumping and hopping around over foam pads and nets. There will be a time for that, and hopefully not for a good few years yet!
Instead, I ‘Imperial Marched’ towards the LEGO Star Wars area, which is far more my cup of tea. Unfortunately, the area was extremely bare, with just one container of blocks and an empty stage … which I think earlier was populated by Darth Vader. It was disappointing not to see the intricate, giant models that were there last time such as the Death Star and Millennium Falcon.
In fact, the experience as a whole was much more directed towards children than previous occasions. Of course, they are the target audience, but LEGO is timeless and so should have more for adults too.