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Lego tour at Riverbank fest this weekend

A beautiful fall day, a nice pinot grigio, a bit of aged Gouda ... does it get any better than that?

Well, if you're a kid, or a kid at heart, it gets a lot better when you throw in a 4,800-square-foot Lego play area.

As part of a 35-city U.S. tour, the Lego Experience comes to Riverbank today and Sunday for the Cheese & Wine Exposition downtown.

This is the first Lego Experience tour since 2003, and the first time it has visited the Riverbank event, said Chris Elswick, Cheese & Wine Exposition coordinator.

Staffed by nine people, the Lego Experience includes several activity tents:

The Welcome Experience: Families start with an overview of the activities, learn Lego trivia and are given their event passport to explore the fun. "Kids are given a lanyard with the face of a Lego mini-figure," said Lego spokeswoman Courtney Lochner. "On the back is a place for stickers that are given at each of the activity tents."

The Model Mash-Up: Lego "master builders" drew inspiration from every Lego theme and play set available to create a toy city full of hidden surprises, humorous moments, creative models and building ideas to showcase how, in a child's mind, nothing is impossible.

The Family Challenge Experience: Every member of the family can step up to the podium and go head-to-head with other families in games and timed building challenges. While it's a game-show-style activity, there's no vying for prizes. "We don't want to emphasize competition as much as just having fun," Lochner said.

The Construction Experience: Families get hands-on with the Lego brand by exploring their imaginations and challenging their inner builders to create custom models to add to a cityscape.

The Bricks & Beyond Experience: Families can plug into Lego-themed video games, take in fan-generated movies and explore online activities at Lego.com.

Other kids attractions at the Cheese & Wine Exposition include the Kids Zone, with carnival rides and games; stage entertainment, including ballet folklorico dancers and a variety of musical performers; and a fun run at 9:45 a.m. today.

The expo also has arts, crafts and antique vendors, food booths, car shows and, of course, cheese and wine tasting. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; wine tasting is $30. To learn more, visit www.riverbankcheeseandwine.org.

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