You don't have to be a wizard to enjoy Pinball Expo 2021
Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running pinball exposition in the world, Pinball Expo 2021 is returning for its 37th Annual Pinball Show.
This year's event has moved to the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg to accommodate even more pinball machines, coin operated machines, seminars, vendors and autograph sessions, which will feature current and past pinball designers and artists.
The expo takes place Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 27-31; the event hall is open Thursday through Saturday. Hours are 6-11 p.m. Thursday, 4-11 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.
Ticket packages range from $175-$210 and single day tickets range from $30-$35 per day. Purchase tickets at pinballexpo.com/admission.
"We are so happy to be growing and to be able to keep the event in the greater Chicagoland area, where pinball was born," Rob Berk, founder of the Pinball Expo, said in a news release.
"Pinball enthusiasts are registering early and taking advantage of the ticket packages that include a factory tour of Stern Pinball, where they can see how a game is developed from start to finish and other exclusive benefits."
Berk is a pinball fanatic who grew up playing in arcades with his father, passed his love of pinball on to his own five children, and continues to play the 80 pinball machines that are in his home. Berk says he started the expo to show appreciation for the people behind the games.
"We honor the artists and designers who created the games we love to play," said Berk, who states this year's expo is bigger and better than ever, with more than 60,000 square feet of space and more than 400 pinball machines.
New in 2021, the expo is featuring a retro game area with some of the very first video games (Atari, PlayStation, Sega). Also, back by popular demand and joining the men's tournament, is the women's tournament, which debuted last year.
More extended open game hours are an added feature as well. Free game time is open to everyone who has paid admission to the event hall.
Not only can attendees purchase pinball machines at the expo for their office, home or business, but they can also purchase books, parts, supplies and all other incidentals that pertain to the ever-growing pinball hobby.
Chicago is the home of pinball manufacturer Stern Pinball.
"There's no better show on the planet to showcase all things Stern Pinball than Pinball Expo," said Zachary Sharpe, director of marketing for Stern Pinball.
"We have many exciting things in store for not only those in attendance at this year's show, but for anyone who has access to Stern Pinball machines in their home or at a location nearby."
Ticket packages include a tour of Stern Pinball factory, which takes place one day only -- Thursday, Oct. 28, -- at Stern Pinball, 2001 Lunt Ave., Elk Grove Village. Participants will get up close to see how pinball machines go from concept to completion.
The buses leave the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center hotel, 1551 Thoreau Drive North, at 9 a.m. sharp.
The Pinball Expo is excited to continue its partnership with nonprofit Project Pinball, a charity organization that places pinball machines in children's hospitals and Ronald McDonald houses to introduce therapeutic benefits to kids of all ages.