As I noted a few days ago, along with Joe Meno (editor of Brick Journal) I am again judging the LEGO competition at the 2010 North Carolina State Fair. I’ve had a few questions about submitting an entry so I thought I’d note a couple things that have been asked or we’ve seen over the years.
- How do I enter? A couple years ago the Fair changed the entry process, it is all computerized now and registration must be submitted 3-4 weeks before the Fair. This year, the entry deadline for the LEGO category is September 24, 2010. To enter, you need to fill out the proper entry form for category EE in the Hobbies and Crafts section of the Premium Guide. All sections of the Premium Guide are posted online including Section EE.
- What do you look for? The first thing we look for are standard LEGO (or K’Nex) kits and eliminate them from judging. All works are to be original. One of the reasons the Fair has asked Joe and I to come back and judge each year is because we are able to recognize what is a LEGO design and what isn’t.
As the rules note in the Premium Guide, all entries are to be original creations. Placing a LEGO set in a diorama doesn’t make it an original creation. We also look for original ideas and construction techniques. We look for age versus complexity. We recognize that not everyone has an extensive LEGO collection and as such, don’t penalize designs that use a multitude of colors.
- What are common mistakes? The most common mistake we’ve seen is not entering in the right category. Usually this is a North Carolina themed model entered in the General category but a couple times we’ve seen them the other way.
A non-NC themed model entered in the NC category is essentially disqualified since it doesn’t meet the guidelines set out in the Premium Guide. When a NC themed model is entered in the General category, it will be judged accordingly. A couple years ago a model that likely would have won the NC themed category was entered in General where I think it was awarded a 4th or 5th place.
I suspect the main reason we see entries in the wrong category is the child didn’t know what he or she was going to build at the time they had to submit their entry. There tends to be fewer entries in the NC theme category than in the General category although last year the gap had closed quite a bit.
There are also 2-3 models each year entered into the wrong age group which automatically disqualifies them. Unfortunately since the Fair has computerized much of their processes, there is no way move entries from one category to another because the entry numbers don’t appear on the judging forms.