Chicago Area LEGO Users Group

A Community of LEGO Builders and Creators From All Over The Chicagoland Area!

Chicago Public Library/Harold Washington Library Center                                               Saturday, October 1, 2016

On October 1, 2016, various ChiLUG members participated at the Chicago Public Library/Harold Washington Library Center (CPL/HWLC) "Day of Play" event.  ChiLUG members Maria Gaido, Alysa Kirkpatrick, Beth and Dan Hanson, Grace and Ben Merrill, The Tompkins family, Pete and Ivet Mowry, Nicky Fitzgerald, Mike Higgins, Josh Allinger, Joel Frazin, and John Thornton all displayed their unique LEGO creations at the one-day event, which drew many guests.  LEGO fans (children and adults) enjoyed building their own LEGO creations at the event using CPL/HWLC's LEGO elements.  Special thanks to Josh Farnum for including ChiLUG in this event (and providing lunch), and to the CPL/HWLC staff for all their assistance.  











Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH                                                                   Thursday, April 14, 2016

On Thursday, April 14, 2016, ChiLUG member John Thornton volunteered a LEGO display & build event at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  (Nationwide Children's Hospital [] is one of the largest and most comprehensive pediatric hospitals and research institutes in the United States, treating more than 1 million patients in 2015.)  The LEGO display & build event was attended by patients, patients' families, and hospital staff, all of whom enjoyed viewing the LEGO items on display, as well as building and displaying their own LEGO creations.  Special thanks to Nationwide Children's Hospital staff members Megan and Steve for hosting the event.




Niles Public Library, Niles, IL                                                                                           Saturday, January 30, 2016

ChiLUG's second annual LEGO display/build event at the Niles Public Library was held on Saturday, January 30, 2016.  ChiLUG members Grace and Ben Merrill, Bill and Mike McDermott, Nicky, Lisa and John Fitzgerald, Ryan and Jon Morris, Alysa Kirkpatrick, Nick Jensen, and John Thornton all displayed their unique LEGO creations at the event, which was well-attended by about 500 visitors.  Visitors to the event also built many LEGO creations (MOCs), which were displayed for the duration of the event.  ChiLUG also held our Winter 2016 meeting at the event.  Thanks to Mike McDermott for scheduling the event and a big thank you to the Niles Public Library for hosting ChiLUG's second event there.





Warrenville Public Library                                                                                       Saturday, September 27, 2014


On Saturday, September 27, 2014 the Warrenville Public Library ( hosted ChiLUG for a LEGO display event. ChiLUG members Maria and Antonio Gaido, Alysa Kirkpatrick, Ben Merrill, Peter Mowry, John Thornton and Jeff Viens displayed 13 tables full of unique LEGO creations. Visitors were welcomed to operate large LEGO R/C vehicles and unleash their inner master builder in the build zone filled with ChiLUG's assorted LEGO pieces. The event was held from 10:00 a.m. until 03:00 p.m., during which time a number of guest enjoyed the event. Thanks to all who participated, and especially to Diana Abraham for hosting this ChiLUG event!




Lombard Helen Plum Public Library Saturday, September 6, 2014


ChiLUG held a LEGO display event at Lombard's Helen Plum Public Library (http/ on Saturday, September 6, 2014. ChiLUG members Nicky Fitzgerald, Mike Hall, Nick Jensen, Jeff/Robin Viens, and John Thornton displayed 10 tables full of unique LEGO creations. In addition, visitors to the event could operate large LEGO R/C vehicles as well as build their own creations with ChiLUG's large bin full of LEGO pieces. The event was held from 10:00 a.m. until 03:00 p.m., during which time a number of guest enjoyed the event. Thanks to all who participated, and especially to Anne Luzeniecki for hosting this ChiLUG event!

Lurie Children's Hospital (Chicago)                                                                             Saturday, August 23, 2014  

ChiLUG's annual LEGO display event at Lurie Children's Hospital was Saturday, August 23, 2014.  The event was attended by ChiLUG members Maria and Antonio Gaido, Josh Allinger, Michael Hall and John Thornton.  A number of Lurie patients (and their siblings and/or parents) enjoyed the event, which featured operating several large LEGO R/C vehicles, building with play brick, and displaying many ChiLUG LEGO creations.  (The event was especially fun for two twin brothers who wanted to stay at the event even though being discharged from the hospital that day, and even asked if they could come back!).  Special thanks to those who participated in the event, and specifically to Susan Ruohonen and Ellen Donovan for having ChiLUG display at Lurie Children's Hospital again.






Aurora Public Library (Downtown Branch)                                                                     Saturday, July 26, 2014

On Saturday, July 26, 2014, ChiLUG members John and Nicky Fitzgerald; Maria, Antonio, and Joey Gaido; Michael Hall; Alysa Kirkpatrick; Ben and Grace Merrill; John Thornton; and Jeff Viens all displayed at the Aurora Public Library (APL) downtown branch.  ChiLUG's second annual event at the Aurora Public Library drew over 500 visitors though the small display area.  A variety of Lego models (MOCs) were on display and enjoyed by all who experienced it.  Thanks to the staff at the Aurora Public Library for having ChiLUG display there. ChiLUG is looking forward to future displays (to be announced), in the new library building to be completed next spring.





Rush Children's Hospital (Chicago)                                                        Saturday, June 30, 2014

On Saturday June 28, 2014, ChiLUG once again volunteered at Rush Children's Hospital.  ChiLUG members Maria and Antonio Gaido, with Zachary and John Thornton participated in the event, held in the hospital's playroom.  ChiLUG MOCs were displayed on all available space, including Maria Gaido's award-winning Candy Kingdom castle and Antonio Gaido's Brickworld-nominated orange Lamborghini.  Several patients and parents visited the event, and took time to build with ChiLUG's playbrick and a few kids enjoyed playing with Antonio's LEGO R/C vehicle and 'pull-back' LEGO dragsters and race cars.  Zachary and Antonio (pictured left) rolled MOCs on hospital carts around to individual hospital rooms to visit confined patients.  Each child patient (or sibling) received a giveaway LEGO kit, and each young girl received a children's book.  All in all, the event was enjoyed by everyone who attended (including a couple of Rush interns!!!).  Special thanks to Megan O'Connell and Ginger Manzella with Rush University Medical Center's Child Life Services.


Brickworld 2014                                                                            Thursday - Saturday, June 12 -16, 2014

ChiLUG had a great showing at Brickworld Chicago ( this year.  Brickworld 2014 was bigger and better than last year's event, with MANY impressive LEGO creations.  Brickworld Chicago raised over $22,000 to donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation among other charitable organizations.  ChiLUG had several members nominated for Brickworld awards this year: Maria Gaido for Best Creature, Antonio Gaido for Best Mechanical, Ben Merrill for Best Creature, Pete Mowry for Best Mega Creation and Best Spacecraft, Dan Church for Best Vignette, and Casey McCoy for Best Film.  Maria Gaido won the Brickworld award for Best Theme Incorporation, and Casey McCoy won TWO Brickworld awards, for Best Stop Animation Film and Most Popular Film (impressive that!!).  In addition, Maria Gaido won an award for Top Volunteer.  Overall, Brickworld 2014 was a huge success enjoyed by all, and ChiLUG made contact with several new individuals interested in also displaying their LEGO creations.  Special thanks to Kathie and Bryan Bonohoom (and the entire Brickworld Team) for organizing Brickworld Chicago 2014, and Brickworld events around the country each year.


S.T.E.A.M. Fair at Glen Ellyn Public Library                                 Saturday, March 8, 2014

On Saturday, March 8, 2014, ChiLUG members Nick Jensen and John Thornton participated in the Glen Ellyn Public Library's (GEPL's) S.T.E.A.M. Fair (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math), displaying several unique LEGO creations.  Nick's impressive video game-themed MOCs and weapons were a big hit with the younger attendees, and Jeff Viens' on-loan world champion trebuchet aligned with the engineering theme of the S.T.E.A.M. fair, as was John Thornton's operating tower crane.  Jeff Vien's Technic vehicles and ("controllable") Lego helicopter provided hands-on activities.  Special thanks to Christina Keasler for including ChiLUG in GEPL's  S.T.E.A.M. Fair!








"Bricktavia"/Batavia Public Library                                                Saturday, January 25, 2014

ChiLUG again displayed at the Batavia Public Library LEGO event "Bricktavia", on Saturday, January 25, 2014.  ChiLUG members Jeff and Robin Viens, Alysa Kirkpatrick, Ben Merrill, Joe Dadabo, and Nick Jensen displayed many cool LEGO creations, including an impressive LOGO mosaic,  a large LEGO  layout, and remote control (R/C) LEGO monster trucks for guests to operate themselves!  ChiLUG  distributed promotional items (posters, t-shirts, etc.) for "The LEGO Movie" to guests of the event, which was well-attended even with the cold temperatures outside.   (NOTE: "Bricktavia" is an annual event at the Batavia Public Library [link:], so whether or not you attended the 2014 Bricktavia event, please make plans to attend "Bricktavia" in January  2015.)



Southland Model Railroad Show                                                     Saturday and Sunday, October 26-27, 2013

ChiLUG members Alysa Kirkpatrick and Jeff/Robin Viens displayed at the Southland Model Railroad Show on Saturday 10/26 and Sunday 10/27, at the Harold L. Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois.  Alysa displayed several impressive LEGO creations, and Jeff/Robin had their entire LEGO train layout in use.  Proceeds from the event to benefit the music program and biennial student trip(s) to Disney World, and purchase equipment and supplies for Richards High School.









Rockford Park District "Bricktober" Lego Event                     Saturday and Sunday, October 12 and 13, 2013 

ChiLUG displayed at the Rockford Park District's "Bricktober" LEGO Event ( on Saturday and Sunday, October 12-13, 2013, at the Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens.  ChiLUGgers Alysa Kirkpatrick, Ben Merrill (not pictured), Nick Jensen. and Robin and Jeff Viens displayed a variety of LEGO creations, with Steven Gabriel from NILTC who joined ChiLUG's display on Sunday, 10/13.  Over 400 guests attended the event (more than twice what was expected).  Thanks to Lyndi Toohill for having ChiLUG participate in this event.   







Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital                                                 Sunday, September 22, 2013

On Sunday, September 22, 2013, ChiLUG members Maria and Antonio Gaido, Joe Dadabo, and John Thornton held ChiLUG’s 2nd Annual Lurie Children’s Hospital LEGO Event.  The Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital (formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital) has a wonderful Family Life Center, with plenty of room for tables of ChiLUG's LEGO models plus space for loose brick/Duplo to "free build".  Thanks go to Antonio Gaido for building two LEGO ‘pull-back’ dragsters, and also to Joe Dadabo for building and donating a MOC of the Lurie Children's Hospital logo.  Special thanks to Jessica Merar and Ellen Donovan for allowing ChiLUG to do this event.






One of the guests at ChiLUG’s Lurie LEGO Event was “Clay”, who brought some of his own builds (pictured at left) to share.






Rush University Children's Hospital                                                        Sunday, September 8, 2013

On Sunday, September 8, 2013, ChiLUG members Maria and Antonio Gaido, Scott and Nathan Ingerson, and John Thornton all participated in a display event at Rush University Children's Hospital in Chicago.  The hospital's family room was a bit tight with several tables of awesome LEGO Bionicle/Hero Factory MOCs, several impressive LEGO mosaics by Joseph Gaido, Maria's wonderful LEGO 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' creation, Dave Xandegar's cool LEGO "Blocktopus", a few ships and trucks, plus Nathan's big LEGO RC monster truck and 'pull-back' LEGO dragsters (which were the hit of the event!).  ChiLUG loaded up several MOCs and was escorted through the pediatric ICU to visit kids who couldn't visit the display room.  Special thanks to Megan O'Connell and Ginger Manzella for having ChiLUG in.






Aurora Public Library (Downtown Branch)                                                 Saturday, July 27, 2013

On Saturday, July 27, 2013, ChiLUG members Alysa Kirkpatrick, Nick Jensen, Mike McDermott, Ben Merrill, Ron McRae, Peter Mowry, and Joe Dadabo all displayed at the Aurora Public Library (APL) downtown branch.  Dubbed the "First Annual APL Lego Show", the event drew 155 - 200 visitors even though the display area was a somewhat small room.  A variety of Lego models (MOCs) were on display and enjoyed by all who experienced it.  Thanks to the staff at the Aurora Public Library for having ChiLUG display there, where ChiLUG is expecting to do future displays (to be announced), as well as at the new library building to be completed in 2015.





Brickworld 2013, Schaumburg Renaissance Convention Center                             June 12-16, 2013 

Brickworld 2013 was a success as usual.  (Please check back later to see posted link(s) to photos of many of the creations displayed at Brickworld 2013.)  

Brickworld enjoyed a new venue in 2013, having moved from the Westin Hotel in Wheeling, IL to 60,000 square feet of convention space at the Schaumburg Renaissance Convention Center.

ChiLUG had a strong showing at Brickworld 2013, one of THE largest LEGO conventions in the nation.  All of the ChiLUG displays were creative and impressive, several of which were nominated for Brickworld awards.  Ben Merrill and Peter Mowry each won a best-of-show award in their respective categories (impressive that, given the level of talent at Brickworld every year).  Congratulations to both of them on their well-deserved awards.

The event was attended by nearly 800 registered attendees and thousands of public guests (on the public display days on Saturday, June 15 and Sunday June 16).  Over $18,000 was raised for charity, including a very generous donation from Eliska Jezek who attended, the mother of Bricklink founder Daniel Jezek.

It was wonderful for ChiLUG to see so many olde friends and make new contacts as well.  If you missed Brickworld 2013, you missed a lot.  But the great news is that Brickworld 2014 will be bigger and better!!  



ChiLUG Displays at Blackberry Farms' "Blackberry Bash"                                        April 27-28, 2013

On Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28, a strong contingent of ChiLUG members displayed a variety of LEGO creations at Blackberry Farms in Aurora, IL.

On display were two LEGO train layouts, an interactive monster truck course and hands-on Technic helicopter, a nativity scene, and many individual MOCs including Bionicle creatures, spaceships, vehicles, ships, etc. The spring-like weather drew a steady crowd all weekend long, and the attendance numbers for the weekend were more than expected (a number of fans were lined up to get in before Blackberry Farms opened).  There was even a mention about the event on the local affiliate of one of the major TV networks.  The attendees appeared to like all that was on display, in addition to enjoying a pleasant day at Blackberry Farms.

Thanks to Laureen at Blackberry Farms for having ChiLUG display.


ChiLUG visits Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL            April 16, 2013 

On Tuesday, April 16, 2013 Mike McDermott (pictured) and John Thornton did a partial-day LEGO display at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL.  On display were several tables of Mike's and John's MOCs, which were enjoyed by several "patient friends" (and hospital staff!).

Since a few patient friends were unable to view the display, hospital staff allowed Mike and John to load several LEGO MOCs on a cart and escorted a visit to several hospital rooms.

Each patient friend received a small LEGO kit to keep, and in return Mike and John were 'rewarded' with smiles on the faces of some wonderful kids.  Special thanks to the staff at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital for having ChiLUG in to display.






ChiLUG Displays at Cub Scouts' "Blue and Gold Banquet" in Sugar Grove, Illinois

On Saturday, March 16, 2013, ChiLUG members Mike McDermott and his son Billy, plus John and Zachary Thornton displayed a variety of LEGO creations at a Cub Scout "Blue and Gold Banquet", attended by a number of local Cub Scout Packs.

Following opening ceremonies, Mike McDermott "emceed" ChiLUG's participation in the event, including presiding over a building contest among the scouts. 

Special thanks to Lori (et al) for inviting ChiLUG to display at their event, and for their generosity throughout.  (Unfortunately, no photos of the event are available.)


"Bricktavia 2013"

On March 26, 2013, a host of ChiLUG members (Dan Church, Nick Jensen, Casey McCoy, Ben Merrill, John and Zachary Thornton, Jeff Viens and Dave Xandegar) all displayed at the annual one-day "Bricktavia 2013" event at the Batavia Public Library, Batavia, IL. 

The event was attended by over 500 guests who came out to see all of the LEGO creations on display.  The display included a large lay-out with LEGO trains and many individual creations and models, plus a free-build area where attendees made their own LEGO creations.

The annual "Bricktavia" display is fast becoming a favorite event for library visitors (as well as ChiLUG members!), so keep "Bricktavia 2014" in mind for a possible visit to the Batavia library near the end of January 2014 (hope to see you there!!)


ChiLUG starts it's work with the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

The first of what we hope to be MANY of these events took place on November 3rd, and it really made these Kid's day!

John Thornton, Mike McDermott, Jeff Viens and Dave Xandegar Hosted the event, and we'll be "cycling" Members as the events continue to give everyone a chance to participate in this worthwhile endeavour!





Blackberry Farm Model Train Show                         July 21st & 22nd, 2012


ChiLUG's Jeff & Robin Viens and Joe & Amanda Ellenbecker exhibited their layouts at the gathering, and the crowd loved it! We haven't seen any photos yet, but we'll be glad to throw some up here when we do! Nice work, Gang!


High Five's Hancock Tower!                                     June 22nd, 2012

ChiLUG's Casey McCoy was one of the 150 young builders who built this incredible 29 foot LEGO replica of the John Hancock Tower!

The project was part of the Harvest Bible Chapel's "High Five" Program this Summer, and this lovely giant was assembled at the facility in Elgin.

Incredible! Nice job, everyone!






Jeff and Robin Viens at the "All American Model Railroad Show"          March 17 & 18

The "Shackleton" Town Display makes a lot of Public appearances yearly, and several of them are at Model Railroad Shows! It's a great thing to bring some LEGO Flavor to the Fans of Model Railroading, and they love it! The All American Show takes place annually in LaGrange