Kurt Zimmerle graduated in 1997 from tiny Principia College in Illinois with a job offer any third-grader would envy: official LEGO MasterBuilder. An art student with a knack for self-promotion, he'd come to the building-block maker's attention in 1992 after sending them a video of his scale LEGO model of North Carolina's Biltmore Estate. Since then, Zimmerle has assembled models for commercial photo shoots, mall and toy-store promotions and displays for LEGO stores all over the country. He says the task is harder than one might imagine, especially working on models involving human forms and expressions. His pride and joy? "I built a model of kids building a treehouse," he says, "including one kid hitting his thumb with a hammer."
Now the thirty-year-old is touring the United States in LEGO's What Will You Make? challenge. He says he "blows into town," drives around for a while to see the local landmarks, then builds whatever happens to catch his imagination, using what amounts to the world's largest supply of LEGOs.
What will Zimmerle build in Denver? Show up from 3 to 7 p.m. today, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday or noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Denver Pavilions, 16th Street and Glenarm Place, to find out. Kids are invited to bring their own creations to the free event or build something right there. Zimmerle will offer building tips and put the best work on display. And maybe, just maybe, he'll pass your name along to LEGO HQ as a possible MasterBuilder of the future.
For info, call 303-260-6000 or visit www.lego.com. --Hart Van Denburg
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This Spud's for You
Potato Day Festival takes root
Oh, what magnificent tuber more deserving of its own festival than the humble potato? The lowly spud will be the main attraction at today's Potato Day Festival, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Centennial Village Museum, 1475 A Street in Greeley. More than thirty demonstrators will set up around the museum's five-and-a-half-acre site, bringing history to life with examples of period blacksmithing, woodworking, rope-making, quilting, and all of that other stuff people did before there was Monday Night Football. Also on the bill: a Civil War camp reenactment, Indian dancers and musical entertainment throughout the day, with additional fun -- like face painting and stagecoach rides -- in the potato patch. The reason for all of this historical merriment is to root out the 1890s origins of Potato Day, when local farmers would bring their newly harvested spuds by wagon to Greeley's Lincoln Park. After all, nothing says "party" like a wagonload of potatoes.
All of the Centennial Village buildings will be open for touring during the day, and free baked potatoes with toppings will be served from 11 a.m. until they run out. Admission to the festival is $5 for anyone over age twelve; kids eleven and under get in free. Call the hotline at 1-970-350-9220. -- Jason Sheehan