LEGO at the North Carolina State Fair

A while back Joe Meno and I got hooked up with the North Carolina State Fair to judge their LEGO category. The LEGO category falls under the large domain of Crafts and Hobbies and is broken down into 4 subcategories:

  • Age 3-8 Kit
  • Age 3-8 Original
  • Age 9-15 Kit
  • Age 9-15 Original

We go to the fair every year so I have looked at the LEGO entries and tried to understand how they were judged. Well, Joe and I learned! Up until this year, a group of ladies who run the Hobbies and Crafts would have to judge the LEGO category too! They dreaded it because they had no idea what was a kit, what was original, what took skill, and what did not. Joe and I got hooked up with the Fair through Samuel Cox. Sam, who is a regular (and very good) builder with NCLTC, is too old to enter the competition but too young to judge it (you have to be 18). So he contacted Joe and I and now we are State Fair Judges.

We arrived at the Fairgrounds around 10:30 and went to find Goldie. After receiving our instructions and judging forms, Joe and I spent about an hour judging. Judging the Kit category was a challenge. How do you judge something where someone essentially followed the directions? What if two (or more) people build the same kit (which happened)? We ended up placing a lot of weight on the age of the builder.

Judging the Original Category was more fun and we spent most of our time doing it. Some of the entries were really clever. LEGO and K’nex are combined into one category so we also had some K’nex entries to judge. All in all, we had a good time, I hope the winning children are happy. We made some suggestions to Goldie about doing away with the Kit category and replacing it with another Original Category – suggested using North Carolina as a theme. We also expressed our desire for an adult category but it doesn’t look like that will happen unless the Hobbies and Crafts get moved to a larger building. We can hope though! We are already on the hook for judging next year – should be fun.

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