Brick Fest Live connects people through Legos

By: Charity Meier | Novi Note | Published March 6, 2024

 Kids play in the Brick Pit during the Brick Fest Live event held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi March 2.

Kids play in the Brick Pit during the Brick Fest Live event held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi March 2.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


NOVI — Legos are one of a handful of toys that have withstood the test of time, making them a common link between the generations.

On  March 2 and 3, thousands of people from across the state headed to the Suburban Collection Showplace for Brick Fest Live, an interactive show that highlights everything that can be done with the plastic building bricks.

“It’s geared toward everyone, and I mean that letter by letter: everyone. There’s no age limit,” said Byron Ruley, Brick Fest Live’s road manager. “I think a very high percentage of people all around the world have grown up with Legos. It’s something that is very relatable. Everyone can agree on loving Legos.”

Brick Fest Live was started in 2014 by Chad Collins, who along with his daughter, Jordan, came up with the idea of an interactive Lego expo while recording an episode for their YouTube channel show, “Your Creative Friends.”

The festival, which has two simultaneous tours around the world, offers attendees the opportunity to not only see life-size Lego creations done by Lego masters, but the ability to physically touch and build with various forms of the bricks.

According to several attendees and show staff, the majority of other Lego shows don’t allow guests to touch the Legos. At Brick Fest Live, guests were able to construct things with glow-in-the-dark Legos, play in a pool of Legos, build and race Lego derby cars, make Lego graffiti art, color with Lego markers, and construct Lego tiles for a gigantic floor mosaic.

The “floorsaic” featured a Lego Marvel superhero fight scene. It comprised 73,728 4-by-4-stud squares, 32,256 2-by-8-stud bricks, 9,216, 1-by-8-stud bricks, and 1,152 32-by-32-stud plates for a total of 116,352 Legos with 2,949,120 studs, which are the bumps on the tops of Lego brick. Lego lovers from all over waited in a long line to put together a small square of the scene.

Brick Fest Live’s front-of-the-house manager, Melissa  Banister, said the show is designed to bring creativity and imagination to kids and give them a reason to take a break from their electronic devices. She said Brick Fest Live also is breaking into the science, technology, engineering and math programs — and the STEM variants, which add art and more — and the show’s organizers hope to have some people involved in those fields as part of future shows.

“We try to encourage people coming together with like-minded things,” said Brick Fest Live floor manager Gilbert Delgado. “Bring out the art in people, embrace the future of engineers and innovators, bring out the creative side and inspire people, bring families together and promote family pastimes, and also just community — bring the community together.”

Delgado said this is the second time the show has come to Novi, and staff estimated that approximately 10,000 people attended the festival over the two days.

Tiffany Baron, of Redford, went to the festival with her teenage daughters, who she said have been into Legos since they were quite young. She said they have always built things with their father using Legos.

“It’s just a fun thing to do,” Baron said. She said her daughter, Becca Trovini, really enjoyed working on the “floorsaic.”

“I like getting to build stuff, like getting to do the hands-on,” said Trovini, 13.

“I jumped into the Lego pool and then I hurt my foot when I stepped onto a Lego,” Rigley Gonzalez, 7, of Dearborn Heights, reported back to his dad, Gary Smith, after spending some time in the Giant Brick Pit.

Smith and his friend, Baron, laughed.

“Karma. I bet you’ll pick them up next time you make a mess with them,” she said.

Gonzalez said he liked the show “a lot” and really enjoyed being able to have so much free time to make things out of Legos.

Lego fanatic Collin Sampson, 12, of Hope, was surprised with a daytrip to the show by his grandpa, who drove the approximately two and a half hours to Novi from Hope. Sampson said he really liked the “huge,” life-size Lego statues, especially the one of a dog. He said he doesn’t build large things like that with his Legos, but he likes to build smaller things, such as spaceships.

“It’s fun and I can create whatever I want,” Sampson said of his reason for liking Legos.

Ruley said that Legos have become a part of pop culture with a FOX television show, “Lego Masters,” which features advanced Lego craftsmanship and is now going into its fifth season.

“Lego Masters” season two runners-up Wayne, 31, and Zack Macasaet, 29, were on hand to sign autographs and take photos with fans.

The Macasaet brothers have been building with Legos for 28 years. Wayne said they started working with Legos when they were ages 4 and 2, respectively.

“We started building right out the womb,” Zack joked.

Wayne said that he really got into Legos when they merged with his passion for “Star Wars.” Zack said he likes to build a variety of things, especially tanks, and he is also into “Star Wars.” On the show, he said, they built a lot of dragons, whales and other animals.

“We just took all our experiences growing up and we brought them onto ‘Lego Masters,’” Zack said.

“It’s like a marble sculpture with a lot of different pieces coming together to make something interesting,” Wayne said of building with Legos.

“We didn’t know what our skill level was, but when we went on the show, we scared a few people. We even scared ourselves, as a matter of fact,” Wayne said.

The brothers have formed a company called Brick Art Motion and hope to make a full-time career out of Legos. Wayne said that is their ultimate goal: to make their passion for Legos into their career.

“I love watching them put (Legos) together, and I love how they are able to just throw stuff together without directions,” said “Lego Masters” fan Kelli Favot, of Gibraltar.

Favot said that Legos are very therapeutic for her son, Hunter Favot, who has autism, and they like to watch “Lego Masters” together. She said that when he is in a mood to do Legos, he will work on building things with them for hours. Hunter Favot said he really enjoys building things with Legos and likes the hands-on aspect of the show, but his favorite thing was the Lego brick pit.

Wayne Macasaet said that he thinks the television show and Brick Fest Live will demonstrate to kids that there is no limit to what they can do.

“They’re going to be able to say, ‘Wow, now this is what you can do.’ Any artform you have right there, you have to push it to its extreme,” Wayne said. “I’m more of a manager, if you will — with this guy right here, my intuition is to make him more of a Picasso, if you will, but preferably alive and not dead. We kind of have this Mozart/Salieri thing going on. Zack is a genius but unappreciated. I’m Salieri — I’m good at making myself look more important than I am.”

Zack said they come to events like Brick Fest Live to entertain kids.

“We like to make people happy,” he said.

Zack said they are trying to envision the future of Lego. He said the future is unknown, but they are seeing more technology and artificial intelligence going into Lego.

“Lego is a whole community in itself. It’s like a whole ‘nother universe,” said Delgado.