- Roger Sharpe
Pinball Expo Celebrates 35th Anniversary
with Largest Schedule of Events and Activities in History
CHICAGO, IL – The 35th Annual Pinball Expo will feature an unprecedented number of events, expanded exhibit space, and enhanced lecture schedule. According to organizers of the world’s longest running and largest pinball exposition, this year’s gathering will offer attendees the most comprehensive assortment of pinball machines ever assembled, an expanded lecture schedule featuring many of the legends of the game, and full range of tournament play. Poised to break all previous attendance records, Pinball Expo is scheduled to take place October 16 through 19 at the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling, Illinois.
“Over the years we’ve really fine-tuned the event schedule,” said show organizer Rob Berk. “So that today we have something for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the world of pinball or a long-time fan of the game, there is sure to be something to capture your interest.”
As Berk noted, this year’s show will feature an exhibit floor with more than 500 pinball machines, all set on free play, ranging from the game’s earliest days to manufacturer sneak peeks of as yet-to-be-released games. However, action off the exhibit floor promises to be just as compelling with more than 30 jam-packed hours of lectures, presentations and seminars by industry historians and legends. Included in the schedule will be Pat Lawlor, celebrated designer of such legendary games as The Addams Family, Twilight Zone and, most recently, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory; pinball artist John Youssi, one of the most influential pinball artists of the past two decades. An autograph session on Saturday will allow attendees to meet and greet many of these luminaries of the pinball industry, including designers, artists, and engineers.
Among the featured lectures are:
• “The Golden Age of Pinball; The Men, The Machines, The Memories” presented by Gordon Hasse, Jr.
• “The Entire History Of Pinball By The Goofballs” presented by Mark Bakula and Don Caldwell
• “Restoring Pinball Artwork & Saving More Games,” with Steve Azzam
• “From Bricks to Balls, or, How I Built a LEGO pinball machine” told by Luke Howarth
Attendees will also be offered a tour of Stern Pinball, Inc., one of the leading manufacturers of games today. As Berk noted, the tour of Stern’s facility remains one of the highlights of the show for many of the participants in previous years.
Additionally, the event will feature a roster of 10 pinball tournaments with participants competing for more than $25,000 in cash and prizes. Among the competitions scheduled this year is the showcase Flip Out, which is open to all attendees, and includes a grand prize of a new Stern pinball machine. There will also be a Women’s Tournament and Children’s Tournament, as well as a Classics Tournament with players competing on vintage machines, and a new Epic Horror House Fest Tournament. “While the Flip Out competition is open to everyone, it typically attracts some of the best players in the world,” said Berk. “The other competitions level the playing field, but only in the figurative sense. They allow everyone to compete with a chance to win. And although we focus primarily on pinball, we’re also bringing back the very successful Galloping Ghost Retro Arcade Tournament with the chance to win trophies and a special Championship Belt. I also want to invite all attendees to join in on Pin Quest, our very own, first time pinball-themed scavenger hunt which I know is going to be an unforgettable experience.”
Also returning to this year’s event is the enormously popular game auction, which will include some of the most sought-after games around. For the first time in the event’s history, the auction will take place Saturday with the majority of the machines up for bid available to play for free on the exhibit floor. “By scheduling the auction on Saturday we’re confident we’ll attract more participants,” Berk said. “So, the bidding should be more exciting than ever. And that’s a good thing since a part of the auction’s proceeds are going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.”
Mark your calendars for Pinball Expo 2019 and be a part of pinball history. Maybe you will even make your own pinball history. For more information and special event packages, please contact Rob Berk at (firstname.lastname@example.org); call 330-716-3139 or visit the official website for Pinball Expo 2019 www.pinballexpo.com.