Date: 19th - 23rd October, 2011
Welcome to the first day of our Pinball Expo report from the Westin in Wheeling, near Chicago.
Day one was a wet and windy affair which did nothing to help those trying to unload their contributions to Pinball Expo. Be it parts or machines, everything suffered from the constant precipitation.
Once inside though, things were much better, far drier and somewhat more familiar.
By mid-afternoon on Thursday the first games had been set up in the free-play area and one or two stands were beginning to take shape.
In the main exhibit hall next door, progress was slower, but the hall wasn't due to open to the public until 6pm the following day.
Some games had turned up though.
Outside the halls, the one fully playable game was in constant use.
In an adjacent room, one of the show's many vendors had set up and was taking advantage of being the first to open.
Meanwhile at the front of the hotel, the tournament machines were being set up...
...and registration was being handled at the main show desk.
At 8pm on Thursday, the Bumper Blast welcome party began, with free food, drinks and entertainment.
Food available included salad, garlic bread, pasta, meatballs, tomato sauce, sausage casserole and peach cobbler. Hot and cold drinks were available to suit.
After dinner, some entertainment was provided by Fred Young...
... and then by Derek Fugate who sang and played guitar.
During the Bumper Blast, the tournament team continued to work so that by about 9pm many of the machines were set up.
The action continues tomorrow morning at 9am when the buses leave from the hotel to visit the Stern factory ahead of the first seminars which begin at 1pm.
We'll have a full look at the Stern factory tomorrow along with more details from Pinball Expo right here at Pinball News.
© Pinball News 2011