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updated: 12/7/2016 11:41 AM

Cantigny's Lego Train Show a surefire holiday hit

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  • Roughly 10,000 people are expected to attend the Lego Train Show this weekend at Cantigny Park in Wheaton where experts will display their work and be on hand to answer questions about how they made their creations.

      Roughly 10,000 people are expected to attend the Lego Train Show this weekend at Cantigny Park in Wheaton where experts will display their work and be on hand to answer questions about how they made their creations.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer/December 20155

  • Visitors to this year's Lego Train Show at Cantigny Park will see some new displays, including a replica of the iconic clock tower from the movie "Back to the Future."

      Visitors to this year's Lego Train Show at Cantigny Park will see some new displays, including a replica of the iconic clock tower from the movie "Back to the Future."
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer/December 2015

 
By Ann Piccininni
Daily Herald correspondent

A miniature version of the iconic clock tower in "Back to the Future" -- you remember, the one that was struck by lightning and helped fuel Marty McFly's time travels -- will be one of the highlights of the 10th annual Lego Train Show this weekend at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.

A "Back to the Future" buff who also happens to love Legos will display his creation at the show that has become a holiday tradition.

"He will have the complete Hill Valley Town Square," said Jamie LeBlanc, president of the Northern Illinois Lego Train Club, which produces the show.

A Lego version of Chicago's Prudential building also will make its debut.

Of course, a Lego mansion and Lego skyscrapers will be back. And scenes LeBlanc describes as "whimsical and fun" will be among the fan favorites coming back for another exhibition, including jousting snails and a truck crash featuring Krispy Creme and Dunkin' Donuts vehicles.

"Everything is Lego," he said.

While not every display contains trains, there will be no shortage of them, LeBlanc said.

Lego artists/engineers will be on hand to discuss their creative process and the technical details of turning their fanciful ideas into three-dimensional, working scenes.

The show is staged in the park's Visitors Center and draws throngs of Lego and train fans, said Magan Ascher, visitor services director.

"We get about 10,000 people between the two days," she said. "Literally, at 4 p.m. we are shooing people out."

For visitors who want to take their time studying the displays and getting the lowdown on how to make them, Cantigny offers a Lego Train Show Party Saturday evening. Attendance is limited to 300.

Ascher said partygoers will be treated to light snacks, desserts and hot chocolate, with a cash bar for adults. Each guest also will get a free gift; parking for the event is also free.

Near the end of the party, the building's lights will be turned off to show off the spectacle created by the lighted Lego displays, she said.

Lego train show guests are admitted free to the show, with no parking fee, if they bring a new, unwrapped toy for donation to the Marine Toys for Tots program. Party tickets are $20-$25.

In keeping with the Lego theme, Cantigny also will have a drop-in program from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday in the McCormick Museum Gold Theatre, where children can learn about engineering and try making a Lego brick construction of their own.

Two programs combining the Minecraft block-building video game with Lego brick-building will follow in the Visitors Center Medill Room on Dec. 14 and 15.

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