- Roger Sharpe
PINBALL EXPO 2018 REMAINS THE WORLD'S PINULTIMATE PINBALL EVENT
It was back in 1985 during the weekend of November 22nd – 24th at a Holiday Inn just outside Chicago near O’Hare Airport that history was made. For the first time, there was an exposition dedicated to celebrating individuals, many who were around when pinball was starting out in the early 1930s during the depths of the Depression, and letting collectors, enthusiasts, hobbyists shower their appreciation. There was a full schedule of seminars featuring such industry luminaries as Alvin Gottlieb, Steve Kordek, Norm Clark, Wayne Neyens and many others who had shaped an entire industry.
But there was also much more for the intrepid attendees including exhibits of old and new machines, replacement parts, multiple dozens of pinball machines all set on free play, a pinball tournament for those fancying themselves silverball wizards and a banquet to top off a nonstop weekend. This first Pinball Expo set the standard for events which have followed over the past three plus decades.
Maybe it is not so surprising that the venerable pinball machine should inspire such adulation and celebration. After all, for over a century, pinball has endured almost seamlessly through embryonic mechanical inventiveness and technological innovation. It is, indeed, a fascinating tribute to those who brought the games to life from the humble beginnings of bagatelle to become the iconic medium of affordable leisure time entertainment.
From simplistic pins nailed into brightly colored boards to today’s cutting edge attractions, pinball still captivates both the young and young at heart with its tactile and immersive qualities which continue to define its existence. There is no other art form like it even in this age of tablets, iPhones, and the host of other immediate resources at our fingertips.
It may well be the reason that Pinball Expo 2018 will celebrate its 34th year and why, during last year’s festivities, the Guinness Book of World Records honored Pinball Expo as the longest running pinball exposition in the world. And while other events around the world, now numbering in multiple thousands, have copied the format of Pinball Expo, it remains the original and unquestioned leader of the pack paying homage to the wonders of pinball past, present and a peak into the future.
This year, Pinball Expo 2018 promises to be the can’t miss celebration with a calendar of events on October 17th-20th that promises to deliver a breathtaking cornucopia of pinball-centric sights and sounds unparalleled anywhere else in the world. For the pinball curious, aficionados of the silver ball, collectors, enthusiasts or those just looking to experience the wonders of fantasy worlds under glass, the place to be will be the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling, IL.
Get on your special bus for a private tour of the largest pinball factory in the world, Stern Pinball, located in nearby Elk Grove to see how pinball machines are designed and manufactured. Meet and listen to those individuals who are keeping pinball alive with their creativity and imagination during a program of informative and eye-opening seminars. Walk through the exhibits of the vendor halls and maybe even find that one elusive pinball machine you have wanted to buy for your home. Sample the hundreds of machines from vintage antiques to the latest releases, all available on free play. No need to bring any quarters to enjoy these games. Ready for some action? How about playing in a few different pinball tournaments and maybe even find yourself taking home the top prize. All this and so much more at Pinball Expo 2018. You can’t risk missing out on this spectacular event.