Hello and welcome to our coverage of this 35th annual Pinball Expo, being held at the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling, northwest of Chicago.
This 35th show is a major anniversary and is being celebrated in many ways. You can expect to see reference to this in various events held during the five days, which begin on Wednesday.
The first order of the day for all attendees is to visit the registration desk to either pick up their pre-ordered pack or to fill in a form and pay there and then.
The full package costs $210 if you buy it on arrival. That seems a lot, but includes all the seminars, access to the game rooms, the Stern Pinball factory tour, the Bumper Blast meal on Wednesday night, the show guide, and a ticket for the raffle to win a Jurassic Park pinball machine.
Individual parts of the show can be purchased separately, but the full package is usually the best deal and it can be discounted further with advance purchase. The team at the registration desk handed out the registration packs and answered all kinds of questions.
While guests were signing-in, lots of work was going on behind the scenes to make sure the show will be ready when the Bumper Blast, the Vendor Hall, the Games Hall and the Seminars Hall open.
Games come through the Game Registration room before they are allowed to move on to the Games Halls or somewhere else in the show.
Although the Vendor Hall doesn’t open to the public until Thursday evening, Rob Anthony had his Pinball Classics room set up on Tuesday to catch the early visitors.
Also in the same row, the Hauntcade is in a suitably spooky Halloween mood to make it’s first appearance at Pinball Expo. We’ll have more on this later in our coverage of the show,
Most of the new game or product releases end up in the Vendor Hall, and while it was closed when we toured the hotel, it’s clear there will be an impressive selection of vendors when the doors open on Thursday evening.
At 7pm on Wednesday, however, it was time for the first Pinball Expo event – the Bumper Blast dinner.
Guests were provided with hot and cold food, soft drinks, music, and the chance to play some rare pinball machines.
The food this year consisted of soup, salad, pasta, pulled pork and BBQ chicken.
While guests enjoyed the food, Ron Coon, Jr. provided the music.
At the back of the hall was a row of pinballs for guests to play. These were mostly Spanish titles which most players hadn’t seen before.
After the Bumper Blast we ventured into the Botanic Garden Ballroom which has turned into a new feature for Pinball Expo 2019.
The Pin Lounge is a combination of the Flip Out tournaments and the Stern Pinball/Marco Specialties display of the latest Stern titles.
The back of the hall hosts the main, classic and kids tournaments, along with live streaming and commentary.
The front of the hall is Stern Pinball’s showcase of their latest titles, with a large number of Elvira’s House of Horrors and Jurassic Park machines.
This room is also where Cassandra Peterson will be appearing to promote her new Elvira game. Elvira & the Party Monsters and Scared Stiff are there alongside the latest release.
On our way back to the lobby, we took a look at the main vendor hall to see how that was coming along.
That concludes our coverage of Wednesday at Pinball Expo. We’ll be back soon with a look ahead to Thursday’s fun which begins with the Stern Pinball factory tour, with the buses departing from the hotel at 9am.
Then, when everyone has returned, an extended seminar schedule begins, and we’ll be recording them all for you on our Pinball News YouTube Channel.
Keep checking back over the course of the five day of Pinball Expo 2019 for all the latest news, plus links to our video coverage of this special 35th anniversary show.