Date: 17th - 20th October, 2018 Location: Westin Chicago North Shore, 601 North Milwaukee Avenue, Wheeling, IL 60090, USA Wednesday is really set-up day for Pinball Expo, but it is also the day for the Bumper Blast welcome party held at 7pm to mark the official start of the show. We got to the Westin hotel around 4pm, checked-in and checked-out what was happening in the show halls. The Westin Chicago North Shore – home of Pinball Expo 2018 In the vendor hall, things were only just starting to get set up. The vendor hall Escalera stair-climbing trolleys are here Machines probably destined for one of the show’s tournaments One of the many parts stands A bunch of EM machines hiding in the corner Ball bowlers are here too Circus Maximus’s Kingpin project is here as well Lots more boxes of pinball parts on another vendor’s stand Next door, the Game Hall was filling up nicely. The Game Hall is located behind the Vendor Hall Inside the Game Hall There has been a special effort this year to get more games to Expo The evidence so far is that there will be a nice turnout More machines in the Game Hall Everyone in the Game Hall was working hard to set up their machines A few last-minute adjustments are always needed Across the corridor, Rob Anthony has his usual room with assorted pinball parts, add-ons and other merchandise. The bouncers at Rob’s room seem to get younger every year Rob Anthony’s room At around 5:30pm the registration desk opened so guests could collect their registration packs. The line at the registration desk At 7pm, the Bumper Blast welcome party began in the room used for the seminars. Guests who had registered and had name badges could help themselves to a buffet meal – sponsored by Deeproot Pinball – before entering the room to sit down and eat it. In addition to the buffet, there were soft drinks and an apple crisp dessert course. The front of the queue for dinner The salad course Pasta and sauces were available along with chicken pieces and soup The chicken dish The soft drinks available The apple crisp dessert The Bumper Blast crowd After the meal, Pinball Expo organiser Rob Berk introduced the team who have been helping him with this year’s show, before thanking everyone for coming and hoping they have a wonderful next three days. Rob Berk welcomes guests Rob addressing the Bumper Blast crowd We left soon after to write this report, pausing on the way to check on how the tournament area was shaping up. The machines were in place, and Tournament Director, Trent Augenstein was looking relaxed. The tournament area at the front of the hotel That concludes our look at Wednesday’s events. We’ll be back tomorrow with the first full day of Pinball Expo, which includes the Stern Pinball factory tour, the start of the seminars, and the opening of the Game and Vendor halls.