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Jemison Lego builders take on challenges each Thursday

Jemison is officially halfway into its summer of Lego Block Party fun, led by Rachel Mims at the Jemison Public Library each Thursday from 10-11 a.m.

While last year’s Lego adventures fostered free-range creativity, this year’s activities are competitive — each participating child constructing a Lego creation according to a weekly challenge.

On June 28, creativity coasted across tables, floors and a makeshift mini ramp to decide the fastest car in town.

Vehicle creations ranged from tiny and four-wheeled to long and 6- to 8-wheeled, and from sporty and lean to bulky, portable resorts and cages.

Winning vehicles scored high to meet the challenge theme, demonstrate creativity, transport one Lego driver securely and reach the greatest speed and distance.

The winner of the Fastest Car in Town Challenge was Sam Cook, with Will Headley placing second and Emma Janney coming in third.

The children shared the “trick” to creating the fastest cars in town.

“You put more weight in the front than in the back,” Emma said, indicating the enclosed cab positioned at the front of the Lego vehicle in her hands.

Sam, who said he liked his car’s visor and motor, said he didn’t believe weight on either end mattered.

“Make it very small and very light. If you make it like super-duper heavy, it’s not really going to go really far, right? … Make it small (and) light, and it works, and it does its purpose just enough,” he said. “This one goes like 50 miles on half a gallon.”

Will said the secret for a fast car is in its wheels.

“You need thinner wheels and you need bigger wheels,” he said, demonstrating the large, skinny wheels on his craftsmanship.

Will said his favorite characteristic of his car was its driver because “he has a mask… a gas mask.”

Tammie McGriff, the Jemison Public Library librarian, said she has enjoyed interacting with the children’s Lego activities each week.

“This is great,” she said. “It gives them (children) a challenge and a nice, safe place to make friends … I know the mothers have as much fun as the kids. They talk, and no one has to worry about the kids.”

Mims said the challenges each week encourage the young participants to understand physics at a basic level. As children piece together and test-run their creations, Mims asks them guiding questions, such as “How can you make it better?” Participants then adjust their projects accordingly.

The weekly Jemison Lego Block Party will conclude July 19.

Admission is free.

“I just encourage everyone that wants to do this to come out on Thursdays,” Mims said. “We have a lot of fun.”