Date: 11th October - 15th October, 2017
Location: Westin Chicago North Shore, 601 N Milwaukee Ave, Wheeling, IL 60090, USA

While Pinball Expo doesn’t properly get into full swing until Thursday, Wednesday is the day when the show is set up, the first guests can register, and the Bumper Blast Welcome Party marks the official opening.

Not unsurprisingly the weather was wet and windy in Chicago as guests began to arrive and check in to the hotel.

The rain was falling on the first day of Pinball Expo
The rain was falling on the first day of Pinball Expo

The registration desk opened in the late afternoon for both pre-registered guests and those looking to buy their passes in person.

Guests register and collect their packs
Guests register and collect their packs

Registering for the full weekend package with the banquet on Saturday evening cost $240 (€202/£182) or $210 without the banquet, with a $10 saving if you pre-registered.  Admission to individual parts of the show were: $30 per day for the show hall, $105 for show-long access to the hall, $90 for the banquet, $50 for the Stern Pinball factory tour and $60 for the seminars.

In the Vendor Hall, preparations were underway to build the stands and install the machines.

Inside the Vendor Hall on Wednesday
Inside the Vendor Hall on Wednesday
This newly-built Brooks & Dunn game was to be Gottlieb's next game before they closed
This newly-built Brooks & Dunn game was to be Gottlieb’s next game before they closed
By late evening the hall was filling up
By late evening the hall was filling up

There was some concern that the Vendor Hall might be a little light on exhibitors this year, but the floor plan suggests most available spots have been taken.

The provisional Vendor Hall floor plan
The provisional Vendor Hall floor plan

Outside the Vendor Hall, the tournament machines were starting to arrive.

The main tournament machines are set up
The main tournament machines are set up
Spiderman Vault Edition and WWE Wrestlemania will be in the main tournament
Spiderman Vault Edition and WWE Wrestlemania will be in the main tournament
Frontier, Stars and Supersonic are in the Classics Tournament
Frontier, Stars and Supersonic are in the Classics Tournament

Around the corner from reception, in its usual place, was the Hercules machine.

Koi takes on Hercules
Koi takes on Hercules

Further down the same corridor is the Game Hall.  This is where the free play machines are set up and where the Expo Brawl tournament takes place on Friday morning.

Machines were still arriving and being set-up on Wednesday evening.

Inside the Game Hall
Inside the Game Hall
Inside the Game Hall
Inside the Game Hall
Inside the Game Hall
Inside the Game Hall
Inside the Game Hall
Inside the Game Hall
Inside the Game Hall
Inside the Game Hall
Inside the Game Hall
Inside the Game Hall
Inside the Game Hall
Inside the Game Hall

At 8pm the Bumper Blast Welcome Party began.

This is a free event for all show attendees, providing them with food and drink as well as a chance to mingle with other guests.  Food was served in the corridor outside the dining hall, while inside cold soft drinks and a dessert dish were available.

The food looked rather appetising, although we had eaten earlier in the day so didn’t try it ourselves.

Guests at the Bumper Blast buffet
Guests at the Bumper Blast buffet
Salad, dressings and potatoes
Salad, dressings and potatoes
Chicken, meatballs and pasta
Chicken, meatballs and pasta
Soup and bread pieces
Soup and bread pieces
Rhubarb and Strawberry crisp
Rhubarb and Strawberry crisp

Show organisers Rob Berk and Mike Pacak welcomed guests to Pinball Expo and invited them to enjoy the complementary food and drinks.

Rob Berk & Mike Pacak
Rob Berk & Mike Pacak
Mike welcomes Pinball Expo guests
Mike welcomes Pinball Expo guests

In a change to previous years, several tables were themed, inviting guests to talk about specific topics.

Some of the themed tables
Some of the themed tables

That’s all from the first day of Pinball Expo 2017.

Tomorrow’s action begins at 9am as the buses leave for the Stern Pinball factory tour.  We’ll be there and will bring you all the latest news from Elk Grove Village, as well as the start of the seminars back at the hotel in Wheeling.

Back to the Pinball Expo 2017 index

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