I started into the world of blocks and bricks when I randomly showed up at the tail end of The Nelsonville brick swap in 2011.

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I arrived at the 2013 brick swap just before it started at 9:00 am. People show up as early as 7:00 am. They set out the bricks and blocks they are OK with giving away at no charge. Some people have 50 or more set out. Then, when the buzzer sounds, people swarm to pick up as many bricks as they can and keep doing so until all of the bricks that are going to be taken are gone. Before the buzzer goes off, like a shark at a singles bar, people walk around intently looking at the wealth of brick bounty and start to figure out the ones they need to fill a hole in their collection. Then, they prioritize the ones they want the most. Just before showtime, a person can walk up and place their foot over the first brick they want to get to hold their place in line. If you are there with other people you are at a definite advantage because you can use your team to increase the odds of getting the bricks you want to obtain. When the buzzer goes off, the swarm begins. There are some guidelines to all of this which I will share below.

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Before and after, there is time to share information about bricks and share brick lore. I learned about some tips for cleaning bricks (using Muriatic Acid) and making them look better. Everyone is very friendly and polite with each other. At the Nelsonville Brickfest I saw plates from these states: Texas, Missouri, Indiana, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Maryland, Colorado and California.

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You will see a lot of pick up trucks in the lot (easy for transporting and storing bricks). Many of the people are members I.B.C.A. (International Brick Collectors Association). Many have signs by their brick piles with their names and hometowns listed. There is a real camaraderie displayed among all present. The goal of many is to get the bricks they need to complete a collection and avoid taking anything they brought with them back. A couple from Texas filled an entire pick up truck with block pavers they planned to take back to Texas to make a sidewalk.

Swappers use a lot of things to store their bricks in – milk crates, pop crates and 2/4 used as spacers in the beds of their pick up trucks. It was quite as sight and I was glad I was able to go. I feel seeing the whole event gave me some closure and not finding many bricks than I needed let me know I have built a pretty good collection in two years.

This will likely be the last post on here for a long time unless I randomly find a block somewhere.

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