(Topic ID: 330306)

2023 VFW Ann Arbor MI Pinball Show - Largest Show in World May 6/7

By cfh

1 year ago


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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by MrBally
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    21
    #1 1 year ago

    The 2023 VFW Ann Arbor pinball show is coming Saturday May 6th and Sunday May 7th (with a IFPA tourney on Friday May 5th.) Information at
    http://vfwpinball.com/?p=128

    The VFW pinball collective is by most measures the largest working and set up pinball collection in the world. Over 500 playable titles (without duplicates) from 1932 to present (prewar, woodrails, EMs, Solidstates, dot matrixs, to the latest Stern titles.) Simply put, there really isn't anything like this any where. Add to that, the show requires a ticket reservation to attend, and the reservation numbers available are less than the number of games for play. Meaning there's no lines to play! This is unlike most other shows where it's hard to find a working game to play without waiting in line.

    In addition, since the show is at a dedicated pinball location (the VFW property is 10 acres in Brighton MI), there's a full time pinball repair facility and probably one of the largest pinball parts departments in North America. Meaning when a game goes down during the show, it's repaired immediately. For example at the last show, with over 500 games, only one game went down that we could not repair immediately (Gameplan Sharpshooter.)

    Would also like to state that we are completely independent. that is, we have NO support from any companies or sponsors. We exist only by the support generated from this show. Heck pinball podcasts, pinball new organizations, etc, never mention the event. We can't even get Pinside to put us on their 'events' page. Once heard someone say, "this is the best pinball show in the world bar none, that no one has ever heard of."

    So if you like to play pinball, and play games that are difficult to find any where else, please come join us for the 2023 Ann Arbor MI pinball show May 6 and May 7!
    thank you!!

    #2 1 year ago

    Tickets bought!!!

    #3 1 year ago

    Clay, will your wife have some of her coffee beans for sale???

    #4 1 year ago

    Yippy Skippy!

    #5 1 year ago

    Children allowed at this show or no?

    #6 1 year ago

    yes

    #9 1 year ago

    Same weekend as Allentown? Damn, I’ll make it one of these years…

    #10 1 year ago

    A photo from last year. This what the aisles look like on Sunday afternoon... damn near empty compared to other shows. Note that all the games are up and running. And running so well that Todd, the one of the outstanding EM Techs, has time to relax and drain a few balls on Atlantis.

    10.02.22 VFW Pinball Show (4) (resized).JPG10.02.22 VFW Pinball Show (4) (resized).JPG
    #12 1 year ago

    Waiting for the annual t shirt thread.

    Hoping to make it back this year.

    #13 1 year ago

    In for Saturday!!!

    #14 1 year ago

    I went to the VFW in October for the first time. I was blown away. If you haven't had a chance, Nudge Magazine has a great little article about this place in issue 1.
    Anyway, the machines here are exquisite. They keep them in great shape and service them on the spot. They have quite a few volunteers there. If something is off in a pin, you let them know and they will either open her up on the spot, or wheel her to an area to work on it. Just so impressive.

    A great collection. I was able to play so many games I never would have normally even looked for. I stumbled on one called Who Dunnit. I loved this damn game. It's a murder mystery you have to solve while playing.

    Anyway, if you can make the stars align and show up, I know you will enjoy yourself.

    #15 1 year ago

    In for Saturday.

    #16 1 year ago

    Any chance there'll be a tournament again? The classics tournament last fall was definitely a highlight for the season.

    #17 1 year ago

    there is a friday tournament this year.

    #18 1 year ago

    IFPA sanctioned, head to head Matchplay tournament. Tourney starts at 9am, please be there no later than 8:45am for registration. Top 8 or 16 (depending on number of participants) will make playoffs. Significant ties broken in one game playoff on random game, random order. Top seed picks bank of games or order. Banks must include one EM, one Early Solid State, and one later Solid State or DMD. Playoffs will be head to head on 3 games (1-0 scoring). Cost $51 USD and all games will be on Freeplay (no quarters needed). Max 128 players. Only way to secure spot is to prepay $1 in advance with $50 cash due at the door. There will also be a $25 optional side pot. Please note this event will take place in the building known as “The Marv” at Vintage Flipper World with about 150 games ranging from EMs to modern DMD (the mix of solidstate pinballs to EMs is about 50/50.) Lunch IS provided. Event will end by 4PM. Prizes: Random giveaways will be drawn throughout the tournament. Payouts to those who buy in to the side pot will go to the top four finishers.

    #19 1 year ago
    Quoted from nsduprr:

    A photo from last year. This what the aisles look like on Sunday afternoon... damn near empty compared to other shows. Note that all the games are up and running. And running so well that Todd, the one of the outstanding EM Techs, has time to relax and drain a few balls on Atlantis.

    [quoted image]

    Todd is playing a Gottlieb wedgehead, as is tradition....

    #20 1 year ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    We can't even get Pinside to put us on their 'events' page.

    Hi Clay! You can just do that yourself easily .. click on Events and “add an event” - as per pic below.

    Wish we could come to the event! You have a cool setup, we enjoyed our visit.

    Dave.

    31B9E5F4-4D58-48E3-B4EC-3F6544CB8199 (resized).jpeg31B9E5F4-4D58-48E3-B4EC-3F6544CB8199 (resized).jpeg
    #21 1 year ago

    dave i did exactly as you decribed days ago, but the pinside admin don't add it. go figure...
    like i said in our opening post. we are under the radar, no sponsors or even mentions. yea sure it's a little by design, but i mean NONE of the pinball news organization ever mention us (say pinball news or Joosten's monthly email.) we might get a podcast mention, but even those for the most part ignore us. but that's Ok. it's our secret... in some ways it's better like this...

    i think one of the issues may be that we don't put emphasis on tournaments. even though we have 500+ games, and we could do a PAPA style *huge* tournament, we just don't. there's reasons for this... mostly related to money vs effort. it's easier on the personnel and the games to not run tournaments. Tourneys are significant work and the participants require a lot of monitoring to make it fair for everyone in the tourney. where a show does not require that level of 'even playing field' stuff. also show participants are generally less abusive to the games (after all, the competitive factor is not there.) and general show participants don't resist paying for game play, where tourney people seem to... and want a payback to the winner pool. bottom line, more work, less income.

    And right now our costs have gone up significantly since Covid, and we need to find a way to pay for things. If we are unsuccessful, we will do what Banning/Papa did, and sell off the games and close the facility. No one wants that, especially me. But i can't continue to subsidize the facility out of my pocket. I've been doing that for ten years... but since Covid expenses are way up, and frankly i can't continue to do that at this level. Hence our show price has gone up to reflect that, and also to try and make up for the last 3 years of low show attendance due to covid.

    #22 1 year ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    dave i did exactly as you decribed days ago, but the pinside admin don't add it. go figure...

    It should be an automatic process.

    I added it for you. Let me know if you want any edits.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/events/2023-vfw-ann-arbor-pinball-show-2023

    rd

    #23 1 year ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    NONE of the pinball news organization ever mention us (say pinball news or Joosten's monthly email.) we might get a podcast mention, but even those for the most part ignore us.

    These days there’s so much shit happening, you need to be very (very!) proactive with social media, send out press releases to the podcasts and “pinball media” guys, etc.

    I’d suggest seeing if any of your volunteers are active on social media etc (and proactive, and decent with communication…) and task them with the job of promoting it. The good news these days - while it takes a lot of time to update the social media and email every clown about it, it costs *nothing* except the time. Print ads etc are dead now - throw everything at social media and the other pinball outlets.

    Re the tournaments - these days everything is pretty simple to run, it’s all on the players phones. All you need to do is open the doors and keep the pins running. If you want some ideas, throw me a message and I’ll fire some at you. Could be a real money spinner for the VFW.

    Dave.

    #24 1 year ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    dave i did exactly as you decribed days ago, but the pinside admin don't add it. go figure...
    like i said in our opening post. we are under the radar, no sponsors or even mentions. yea sure it's a little by design, but i mean NONE of the pinball news organization ever mention us (say pinball news or Joosten's monthly email.) we might get a podcast mention, but even those for the most part ignore us. but that's Ok. it's our secret... in some ways it's better like this...
    i think one of the issues may be that we don't put emphasis on tournaments. even though we have 500+ games, and we could do a PAPA style *huge* tournament, we just don't. there's reasons for this... mostly related to money vs effort. it's easier on the personnel and the games to not run tournaments. Tourneys are significant work and the participants require a lot of monitoring to make it fair for everyone in the tourney. where a show does not require that level of 'even playing field' stuff. also show participants are generally less abusive to the games (after all, the competitive factor is not there.) and general show participants don't resist paying for game play, where tourney people seem to... and want a payback to the winner pool. bottom line, more work, less income.
    And right now our costs have gone up significantly since Covid, and we need to find a way to pay for things. If we are unsuccessful, we will do what Banning/Papa did, and sell off the games and close the facility. No one wants that, especially me. But i can't continue to subsidize the facility out of my pocket. I've been doing that for ten years... but since Covid expenses are way up, and frankly i can't continue to do that at this level. Hence our show price has gone up to reflect that, and also to try and make up for the last 3 years of low show attendance due to covid.

    Just make the entry fee $100 per person and do it twice a year.

    #25 1 year ago

    During Covid to decrease demand we did $100. And that did not go over well, a lot of people said that’s just too much money. So we back down to $80 and that seems to be a better spot. Twice a year we could do, but more work than you could ever imagine. unfortunately not all game problems get reported during the show. I wish they did and we’re making some changes to make it easier to report broken games. But it takes a lot of time to go through and check everything and clean all the games and repair them. And it puts a lot of stress on the volunteers. Sometimes I feel like I can barely keep them all with once a year. Twice a year might be just pushing the volunteers over the line. I can’t run a show by myself…

    #26 1 year ago

    I’d volunteer

    #27 1 year ago

    I'll help can I work remotely

    #28 1 year ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    During Covid to decrease demand we did $100. And that did not go over well, a lot of people said that’s just too much money. So we back down to $80 and that seems to be a better spot. Twice a year we could do, but more work than you could ever imagine. unfortunately not all game problems get reported during the show. I wish they did and we’re making some changes to make it easier to report broken games. But it takes a lot of time to go through and check everything and clean all the games and repair them. And it puts a lot of stress on the volunteers. Sometimes I feel like I can barely keep them all with once a year. Twice a year might be just pushing the volunteers over the line. I can’t run a show by myself…

    Ok, if someone can cough up $80, $100 should be doable.....That being said, offer up a limited amount of 2 day passes for $150 ea?

    #29 1 year ago

    In for 2 on Saturday!

    #30 1 year ago

    I have seen the show posted on a lot of the fb pinball groups this year. More so than usual.

    #31 1 year ago
    Quoted from vdojaq:

    Ok, if someone can cough up $80, $100 should be doable.....That being said, offer up a limited amount of 2 day passes for $150 ea?

    So you're suggesting lowering the price to $75.00/day?

    1 week later
    #32 1 year ago
    Quoted from MrBally:

    So you're suggesting lowering the price to $75.00/day?

    Not really, a small discount to do 2 days instead of one. Would you rather have $80 from someone 1 time, or $150 from someone 1 time?

    #33 1 year ago

    Is there a deadline or cap for the tournament registration? I went in the fall and had fun and would like to come again but I won’t know if I can take the day off work until probably a week out from the date.

    #34 1 year ago
    Quoted from rotordave:

    and task them with the job of promoting it.

    Next thing he'll do is "task" some to fix his mini-bikes.

    Quoted from vdojaq:

    Not really, a small discount to do 2 days instead of one. Would you rather have $80 from someone 1 time, or $150 from someone 1 time?

    $80 one time as well as $160 one time from those who are able to visit multiple days.

    #35 1 year ago
    Quoted from Meegis:

    Waiting for the annual t shirt thread.
    Hoping to make it back this year.

    Working on it!

    Here's a teaser....

    VFW 2023 teaser (resized).jpgVFW 2023 teaser (resized).jpg

    Later,
    EV

    #36 1 year ago
    Quoted from EchoVictor:

    Working on it!
    Here's a teaser....
    [quoted image]
    Later,
    EV

    Ooooooh

    I'm excited

    #38 1 year ago

    Was there 5 years ago when there were “only” 350 or so. (Remember signing my son’s nunchukas “Ninja”?)
    I can’t say enough good about your venture. I wish there were a magic bullet to make it easier & cheaper, but that does not exist. All I can say is, “SUPPORT THIS, PEEPS!” (And maybe a jar at the door that says “Tipping” is not only a town in Kansas!)
    Best of Luck.

    12
    #39 1 year ago

    the 2022 show there was 350 people each day on 500 games. and in 2020 and 2021 there was a 50 people per day on 500 games. to make expenses though, now, we would like to have a few more people. but i'm pretty sure you won't go to any pinball show that has over 100 games and see so few people playing them. ever been to texas? lines 10 deep for every game, the whole show, just to give it perspective. but we will *never* let more people in the door than there is games... never...

    #40 1 year ago

    Every year I want to make this and every year it falls on the KY derby. I will be there in spirit,good luck!

    #41 1 year ago
    Quoted from Viggin900:

    Every year I want to make this and every year it falls on the KY derby. I will be there in spirit,good luck!

    What was your excuse last year? . It’s definitely a must attend event.

    #42 1 year ago

    And the same weekend as Allentown. Hence why I can never seem to make it there :^(

    Ron...

    Quoted from Viggin900:

    Every year I want to make this and every year it falls on the KY derby. I will be there in spirit,good luck!

    11
    #43 1 year ago

    I've been to Allentown and I've been to VFW... if I want to play the most pinball possible on the best maintained machines on location anywhere (In my very limited experience at least), the choice is clear, go to VFW. Allentown has a ton of other things going for it, no doubt about that, but if you just want to push start buttons and flip non-stop, game after game after game, VFW is the place to be. Wish I was closer so I could volunteer and have access to that collection more frequently.

    #44 1 year ago
    Quoted from Viggin900:

    Every year I want to make this and every year it falls on the KY derby. I will be there in spirit,good luck!

    Now how could that possibly be??? the VFW show for the last 3 or 4 years has been in the FALL. this is the first time it's been in the spring since i think 2018 or 2019...

    #45 1 year ago
    Quoted from Gizmonic:

    And the same weekend as Allentown. Hence why I can never seem to make it there :^(
    Ron...

    Yea..but does Allentown have "Chef Ryan" on the snack shack grill?
    .

    10.02.22 VFW Pinball Show (14) (resized).JPG10.02.22 VFW Pinball Show (14) (resized).JPG
    #46 1 year ago

    "Would also like to state that we are completely independent. that is, we have NO support from any companies or sponsors. We exist only by the support generated from this show. Heck pinball podcasts, pinball new organizations, etc, never mention the event. We can't even get Pinside to put us on their 'events' page. Once heard someone say, "this is the best pinball show in the world bar none, that no one has ever heard of.""

    Make sure you add a Facebook even on your group and make it public. As for other advertisement: setup some cheap fliers around. All the pinball places and other related places have fliers posted for Free Play FL Pinball event every year and that show is only 35/day non-profit. If you had attendance counts or wanted to, you could try selling some vendor spots. I know some people in Toledo OH across the border that like pinball but probably never heard of the event. Check pinballmap.com and look at places that have pinball machines within an hour or so and put fliers at the biggest ones or just email them the flier graphics and they can probably just print and post for you without the need to visit.

    pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png

    #47 1 year ago
    Quoted from Viggin900:

    Every year I want to make this and every year it falls on the KY derby. I will be there in spirit,good luck!

    You need to have your calendar recalibrated....

    #48 1 year ago

    If this wasn’t same weekend as Allentown I’d be there.

    #49 1 year ago
    Quoted from nsduprr:

    Yea..but does Allentown have "Chef Ryan" on the snack shack grill?
    .[quoted image]

    What about the cole slaw ?

    #50 1 year ago
    Quoted from Ballypin:

    What about the cole slaw ?

    Cole slaw??? Almost certainly! Did you notice the smoker in the back ground? You can’t have BBQ pulled pork without cole slaw.

    And I’m pretty sure *Pit Master Blake* is still planning on BBQ and Cole slaw (using my *secret* recipe) this year.

    10.02.22 VFW Pinball Show (27) (resized).JPG10.02.22 VFW Pinball Show (27) (resized).JPG
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