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Article updated: 12/10/2012 5:09 AM

Lego fans flock to Cantigny show

By Matt Arado

"Star Wars" stormtroopers. A vast medieval estate. The many rooms of Hogwarts, the wizarding school from the "Harry Potter" novels.

These were among the sights that brought hundreds of families to Wheaton's Cantigny Park over the weekend for the 11th annual Lego Train Show. The event, which organizers say has become a holiday-season tradition for many local Lego fans, took place Saturday and Sunday inside Cantigny's Visitors Center.

Visitors were treated to a series of displays and scenes built entirely from Lego blocks and figures. Many of the scenes were connected by moving trains. All exhibited a staggering amount of detail.

The Hogwarts display, for example, included recreations of various scenes from the "Harry Potter" books and films inside a Lego replica of the castlelike school. (One of the school's rooms came complete with flickering torches.)

More "Harry Potter" scenes and characters were featured outside the school, including the menacing spider Aragog, an adversary of Potter's, and a model of the "Whomping Willow" tree that actually "whomped."

"I'm pretty blown away," said David Singer, of Naperville, who brought his 5-year-old son, Josh, to the show Sunday.

"He's just recently gotten interested in Legos, and I thought this would have some cute things for him to look at," Singer said.

"But what they've built here goes way beyond anything I could have imagined."

The show was organized by the Northern Illinois Lego Train Club, a group of Lego fans who love to design and build elaborate Lego creations for public viewing.

Club member Dale Klein of Hickory Hills attended the show with his Lego project -- a massive medieval scene that included a castle, a royal garden, a slew of knights on horseback and scores of townspeople. Klein said he started building it five-and-a-half years ago.

"I've just always been interested in castles and the medieval period, ever since I was young," he said.

When asked if he had any other Lego project under construction, Klein shook his head and smiled.

"I just keep adding on to this one," he said

Last year's Lego Train Show attracted roughly 10,000 people over the course of the weekend, and organizers expected attendance to at least meet that figure this year.

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