At the sixth annual Chippewa River District Library LEGO Contest, Mount Pleasant area preschoolers and retired operating engineers alike partook in a competition that included 111 entries – each attempting to construct the coolest contraption.
Rob Wang, Veterans Memorial Library marketing and communications manager, said the evening was one to remember.
“It was amazing, I’m glad that I don’t have to judge,” Wang said. “The amount of effort and imagination that goes into these is unbelievable.”
More than 256 individuals, roughly twice the initial number at the event’s inaugural competition, packed themselves into the library’s annex room and spilled into the hallways.
The crowd was eager to hear which projects placed in seven different age-based categories.
CMU alumnus Timothy Patishnock placed second in the adult division. His sister and fellow alumna, Kim, placed third.
Timothy recreated the battle scene between Nazis and enchanted suits of armor from the film “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.”
The 2012 BCA graduate said his recreation included a plethora of custom LEGO pieces. Construction, Timothy said, took up three weeks of his personal time.
As a graphics design and two-dimensional design major, Kim created a number of customized decals for her recreation of The Lucky Cat Chinese trinket shop from BBC’s “Sherlock.”
“The whole thing is custom,” Kim said. “I rendered it in the LEGO digital printer software and built it from hand, piece-by-piece.”
Kim said it took her about 16 hours to render her project and countless to put it together, because she needed to order many customized pieces individually from BrickLink, a LEGO trading site.
The Patishnocks said they both spent innumerable hours locating, mixing and matching individual LEGO in order to create their pieces.
“Unfortunately, you can’t find Nazi LEGO on the shelves of Walmart,” Patishnock joked.
At the age of 61, retiree Larry Kole placed first in the adult category with his customized tank, “The Atomizer.”
The remote-controlled device, whose bottom was from a bulldozer kit and the rest of which Kole customized, took the former heavy equipment operator and operating engineer about 50 hours to construct.
He came up with the idea with the help of his grandson.
“It’s 100 percent LEGO, can rotate 360 degrees, move up and down and can even fire projectiles,” Kole said.
Hannah Coffman, a homeschooled Mount Pleasant sixth grader who placed third in the 6th through 8th-grade division, built an intentionally broken windmill. Her piece voiced concerns of birds being killed by windmills, and featured an attached sign reading “Save the birds.”
“I’ve been reading in my science book about the ways people make energy and with windmills,” Coffman said. “I saw that there were a couple (of) things they do that actually hurt the planet.”
Since she put in work and researched how windmills kill birds for her project, Coffman said she felt that extra effort helped her win third place.
Wang said he loved the overwhelming turnout of children and hopes that, in the future, more adults will participate with their kids. Regardless, he had fun organizing the event.
“Listening to kids explain what this part and that part is and does, plus, the creativity that they put into it is amazing,” Wang said.
Patishnock said he also enjoyed seeing the various constructs of all of the children at the event.
“My favorite was the ‘Ghostbusters’ one,” Patishnock said. “I talked to the young man who built it and I was apparently the only one that got that it was from the TV show. We had kind of a fun LEGO building brother bonding moment.”