Youngster constructs indoor carnival

Ryan Marconi kept track of thousands of tiny pieces of plastic this summer, as he assembled a carnival in the basement of his grandparents’ home.

Some kids may dream of running off with the carnival. Ryan Marconi, 9, had a better way to spend his summer vacation. He built one.

Ryan, son of Keith and Cindy Marconi, spent a lot of time with his grandparents in Hagerstown, Md. Because it was so hot for so long, he wanted to do something inside the house.

"One Christmas I got my first K'Nex," he said. "I left it in my closet and forgot about it. Then I found it this summer and brought it along to play with."

And that was it. Ryan was hooked. He watched for sales and kept adding kits to his inventory.

He followed directions to 'connect' the rods and joiner pieces. He activated the pulleys with AA batteries, so on some rides small vehicles zip around the tracks with gravity power, then a moving chain carries them to the top again. The display takes up a corner of the basement, both on the floor and shelving. Ryan built a roller coaster, ferris wheel, octopus and other midway rides.

Some of the projects were complicated, and one took at least four days to build. Since he didn't have any small Lego people to send to the amusement park, he strategically placed Army guys, another Christmas present, about the grounds. When a friend came over to see the final result, "he was in shock," said Ryan.

The youngster put a handmade sign across the wall. 'Do not touch. It's not Dollywood. It's not Disney World. It's Ryan's World.' His sister Racheal, 11, added her personal touch to the display. She put a beach scene of her own miniature figures at one end. Ryan let them stay, though he considered them "too girly."

The carnival is safe and can stay in the basement as long as he wants. At his own home, a dog and cat could destroy the set in minutes.

By day Ryan is a fourth grade student at Greencastle-Antrim Elementary School. When he visits his grandpa and grandma at other times, he can step right back into Ryan's World.