(Topic ID: 67869)

My comparison of Pinfest, York and Expo shows


By Pinsforfun

7 years ago



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  • 33 posts
  • 17 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by ninjadoug
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    #1 7 years ago

    I did what I’m going to call the north eastern trifecta.

    I attended:
    Pinfest in Allentown, PA on Friday May 3 and Saturday May 4.
    The White Rose Gameroom show in York, PA on Friday Oct. 11 and Saturday Oct 12, then finished it off with the Pinball Expo. in Wheeling, IL on Saturday Oct. 19.

    I will start by saying the main reason I attend a pinball show is to play pinball. Yes I enjoy seeing old friends and picking up parts and pieces, but I want to play games most of all. I’m 52 and I enjoy playing all types of machines from wood rails to the latest DMD’s.

    My first comparison is - games to play.

    Pinfest - 200 free play pins plus vendors with another 30+ games to play
    York – 100 free play pins plus vendors another 15 games 10 not on free play (one of the best things is wood rail alley if you haven’t played a wood rail play one. Try and beat that machine, their a bigger challenge then you may think)
    Expo – 70 free play pins plus 30 vendors games but half of the games not on free play.

    My second comparison is – vendors

    All the shows have great vendors. Most of the main vendors are at all three shows. The difference that I saw was that the Expo has custom machine vendors.

    My third comparison is - flea market

    Pinfest – both indoor and outside with 20-25 vendors
    York – outside with 10 vendors
    Expo – no flea market

    My fourth comparison is – food and drink

    We all have to eat and drink.

    Pinfest – has a lunch counter in the venue, but the best place is the farmers market, this place is packed with different places to pick up anything you could want.
    York – has the lunch counter in the venue, basic hot dogs, hamburgers, and soup
    Expo – Twin Peaks a sports bar on the same complex

    My fifth comparison is – Value/hours

    Pinfest - $17/day Fri. 12-9 & Sat. 9-8
    York - $15/day Fri. 10-8 & Sat. 9-6
    Expo - $25/day Thur. 6-12, Fri. 6-12, Sat. 9-6 & Sun. till 4, I did find that the hours on the web page didn’t match the actual times, as the vendor area closed at 5PM on Sat. when it’s posted that it closed at 6 PM

    Overall

    Like I said I go to pinball shows to play pinball. So here’s my rating.

    #1 Pinfest most games for a good value.
    http://www.pinfestival.com/index.html
    #2 York good mix of machines and the best price.
    http://www.theyorkshow.com/
    #3 Expo most expensive but it does have extended hours just not the variety of machines as the others shows.
    http://www.pinballexpo.net/

    Side note if your in Chicago and have a chance to visit the Emporium Arcade and Bar do it. It’s a great place to play both pins and arcade games. They have a great line up of pins all in great shape, clean and play fast. Plus a great line up of old school arcades that bring back tons of memories. Check it out.
    http://emporiumchicago.com/

    Hope this was helpful. I know this is my opinion, others may vary.

    #2 7 years ago

    I did York for the Second time this year and loved the relaxed feel with a great variety of games. I am going to try to do Allentown and York this coming year.

    #3 7 years ago

    The York show had closer to 200 games on the floor on Friday, over 160 on free play. It also has a free admission flea market which is usually larger but the 9 inches of rain on Friday scared a lot of people off.
    Allentown also has a great BBQ / Ice Cream place on the far end of the fairgrounds. The Ritz. It is like a trip back into the 40's when you go in there.

    #4 7 years ago

    OH, the Ritz how could I forget about the Ritz?

    #5 7 years ago

    It is always a tough decision between the farmers market and the Ritz for me. The great food and awesome historic building of the Ritz usually wins. The food choices at Allentown are the best you are going to find anywhere for any show. And not just Pinball shows. It is a unique location that can house a show and have so many choices food wise.

    #6 7 years ago

    I went to York last year and pinfest this year. I really like pinfest a lot more than York. Had more games for free play/ for sale. Had a bigger flea market and way better food options (yes the farmers market is that good). Vendors were close as most vendors were at both events but some were at pinfest that weren't at York but not the other way around. York also had tons of cheap Playfield glass for sale $25 while you had to have pre ordered it at York to get any. A lot of the good deals at York were gone before the place opened to the public.

    Overall pinfest was a better show. Next year I defiantly plan on pinfest and first trip to expo. Possibly York but if I went would only be the first day. Not worth staying overnight.

    Was York better this year than 2012?

    #7 7 years ago

    I think the York show was better this year. The rain caused some problems but there was still over 160 games on free play on Friday, Stern's Star Trek and JJP Wizard of Oz were also there. But with all the shows, it is the pinball collector community that actually controls how good a show is. If you go to the shows just to play games, you are missing out on the best part of the shows. Which in my opinion is the meeting and talking with the other collectors at the show.

    #8 7 years ago

    Expo freeplay room had 81 pins at 1:00 am Saturday morning. The vendor room had 8 Sterns on freeplay, there were 3 WoZ on freeplay and Rob & Mike had 24 freeplay pins. Plus Hercules and Flintstones in the hallway. That's 118 true freeplay pins. Granted, when the vendor hall closed, you are down to 83. Then there are the broken ones to account for.

    #9 7 years ago

    The vibe at pinfest with the outdoor flea market is tops for me. Last year we had a grill and were grabbing stuff to cook across the way from the farmers market. It's a blast and I am able to bring the entire family and dog

    I would place expo in second, the signature session, 24 hour games and the Westin vibe. Very cool to do.

    York is good based on timing though some of major vendors opt out in favor of expo. I used to not care about games leaving when sold but now I think it short changes the attendees. If you bring a game and get in for free the game should be playable till the doors close. Games were leaving 15 min into the show after being sold.

    Just my thoughts.

    Mk

    #10 7 years ago

    What can you do to stop someone from carrying out their property? The early game removal fee isn't a huge deterrent on a couple of thousand dollar item.
    I usually take a few games that aren't for sale to the shows and I always get at least one person that tells me I am stupid for bringing a game and not having it up for sale. Which causes me to do things like put ridiculous prices on them knowing that I will get crap for the price but less crap than not having it up for sale. You should have heard the comments the year I decided to up the price every hour. The guys from the forums are the worst offenders on being proud members of the pricing police.

    #11 7 years ago

    With work and traffic we got there at 4:15 PM Sat. planned on spending a hour and 45 min. in the vendor area as per the times posted on the web but I was told the vendor area was shutting down at 5:00 not 6:00 so there was not much time to play any games or see all the vendors.
    At 5:05 PM when I got to the free play room I counted 70 machines with five shut off and three more were getting packed up. More got packed up as the night went on. There were still some really good games to play, that's just not worth $25/person to me.

    #12 7 years ago

    The count I heard as far as freeplay machines at York was 168 on Friday but I know there were a few less Saturday. I have never been to Expo but both York & Allentown are well worth attending.

    I will say when you go to York jump into your vehicle and go get food off the Fairground. Lots of great places to eat with in a couple miles but food at Fairground is both high priced & not very good as far as I am concerned.

    The best part of York is the relaxed feeling of that show. I wish the flea market was bigger and also wish there were move vendors inside but overall it is a great show.

    Allentown seems to be more busy, more lines waiting to play a specific machine, etc. but the flea market is a nice size and food at Farmers Market is always great.

    Nice thing is these two shows are about 6 months apart so it works out great. Expo always being a week or two after York makes it tough to hit both but don't underestimate York for a great place to play some pinball. If possible I always try to make Allentown & York. Next year I am going to try to hit all 3.

    1 year later
    #13 5 years ago

    We now need to add ReplayFX to this list. I have been to York and Pinfest several times and now rate ReplayFX as a solid #1. It's really great to have so many events to choose from now in the north east like Expo,Pintastic, Pinfest, York and JJP's open house.

    #14 5 years ago

    Yes pinball is making a come back in a big way. We at Pintastic will keep pushing forward!

    #15 5 years ago

    Check out the Ann Arbor michigan pinball show too. Last show there was over 250 games on free play. Next show will have 300. And these are all restored games, and none leave during the show. So friday is as good as sunday.
    http://www.vfwpinball.com

    #16 5 years ago

    I think I've absolutely found the best three shows to go to in the eastern third of the country this year. Allentown, because it's the first show of the year and is a great show for all the reasons stated in the OP. Pintastic because of the family atmosphere and layout (and carpeted game rooms!) - what a great first year for Gabe and Derek! Then ReplayFX for the sheer size of it. About 800 pins and arcade games. If your feet can handle the concrete floor for four days, you'll be in heaven.

    Four different shows with different vibes, but what a great combination. I no longer feel the need to go to Expo.

    #17 5 years ago

    Chicago Expo is a great place to play extremely rare pinball machines.

    Mike sets up a lot of prototypes, (or very low production numbers games).

    Add the Proc home-brews, Stern white-woods, Jolly Park, Verne's World, .... and you have rare game heaven

    Expo 2012 011.JPG

    -1
    #18 5 years ago
    Quoted from scott_freeman:

    Chicago Expo is a great place to play extremely rare pinball machines.
    Mike sets up a lot of prototypes, (or very low production numbers games).
    Add the Proc home-brews, Stern white-woods, Jolly Park, Verne's World, .... and you have rare game heaven
    Expo 2012 011.JPG

    Maybe...but it's a tough sell after the 500 machines at Replay when Expo only has about 70. And Mike was there with his Hercules and God knows what else (if it's the same Mike I think you're talking about). Maybe I'll try it next year, but at this point I think it would just be a letdown for me (after a long trip!).

    #19 5 years ago

    The ann arbor michigan show has a lot of rare and low production games too. this coming year will will have tons of Italian games (many many Zaccarias and others). And lots of other U.S. made low production games too. Way more than i've ever seen at Expo. At 300 fully restored (and no duplicates, unlike ReplayFx), it will have the widest variety of games anywhere. A nearly full Stern m200 collection, nearly fully Bally -35 collection, nearly fully Zac gen2 collection, nearly full Williams/Bally WPC collection, nearly full system11 collection, significant 1987-1995 dataeast collection, system80s, newer sterns, most color dmds, significant 1960s/1970s Gottlieb wedge heads, woodrails, well... you get the point. With limited entrance to keep game-to-people numbers good, if you like to *play* pinball, no show is better.

    #20 5 years ago

    I am planning on attending Expo this year. I'm interested in seeing how it's all put together. Also looking forward to checking out the Sterns factory tour. Most of all meeting new people and being able to enjoy a show instead of running around like a crazy man.

    -2
    #21 5 years ago

    I was not impressed by replay FX. When we went a lot of games were not working and many more were not on free play. The transition from the papa facility was not a good one. Also the Caverness like atmosphere of the convention center didn't provide a very good play environment compared to the outstanding papa facility. Parking was expensive at $12 per day and the food prices were crazy. Also I don't really care about video games. So to me I thought having it at the papa facility was much better than having it at the downtown Pittsburgh convention center. Papa games don't really play all that great to start with, and add to that the move to the convention center, and I just don't think the outcome was really very good.

    #22 5 years ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    Parking was expensive at $12 per day and the food prices were crazy.

    Don't come to New York City. You'll pay $30 for two hours. I'm not joking.

    #23 5 years ago

    Free parking at Pintastic just saying.

    #24 5 years ago
    Quoted from dannunz:

    Free parking at Pintastic just saying.

    Watchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis? You charged me $20 when I pulled into the parking lot.

    #25 5 years ago

    I've never paid for parking at any show except for replayfx.

    #26 5 years ago

    I have never been to Expo but I have been to Allentown & York several times.

    It is hard to really compare the two (both are great shows in their own way). Allentown seems like a much bigger show but I think that is mainly because Allentown has a much bigger flea market & more new parts vendors. As far as number of free play machines I thing Allentown is only about 20% bigger (at a guess).

    Personally I like York better - feels more like home to me being a very relaxed show but I enjoy Allentown more. I know that sounds crazy but I like each show for different reasons.

    Allentown has a GREAT flea market but freeplay area just seems too busy for me to enjoy and it is hard to beat the food at Allentown. York is a little smaller, nicer parking, and a more relaxed show but lacks the large flea market and great food within walking distance.

    The nice thing is both are fairly close to home for me and they are 6 months apart so I am lucky enough to be able to attend both. If you can that would be my recommendation.

    I have never been out to Clay's VFW but that sounds amazing. Something on my "bucket list" for sure!

    #27 5 years ago

    Which shows are the best to sell/purchase games at? At Replay, there were only a few, which is fine. It was a tournament style show.

    What other shows referenced above are the best to buy/sell? I've been thinking of going to one of the MI shows, but don't know what they are like.

    #28 5 years ago
    Quoted from beelzeboob:

    Maybe...but it's a tough sell after the 500 machines at Replay when Expo only has about 70. And Mike was there with his Hercules and God knows what else (if it's the same Mike I think you're talking about). Maybe I'll try it next year, but at this point I think it would just be a letdown for me (after a long trip!).

    There was almost 200 in free play at expo last year. But it was the 30th year. Bio idea if it will go that big again, but 70 is a bs number.

    #29 5 years ago
    Quoted from hawksfan:

    There was almost 200 in free play at expo last year. But it was the 30th year. Bio idea if it will go that big again, but 70 is a bs number.

    Plus the three categories that were mentioned left out important stuff that only Expo offers. The most industry folks are at Expo by far, and many times they will speak in seminars and fireside chats, etc. Additionally it's the only show that will offer a tour of the new Stern facility. Plus it has several tournaments that have been well received. If you are going to compare pinball shows Expo is Comic-Con San Diego, the rest are all very nice but are in a different league.

    #30 5 years ago

    Allentown has the most games for sale IMO

    York and Pintastic New England also have lots of games for sale.

    We are planning something special on NIB pinball machines at Pintastic 2016 stay tuned.

    #31 5 years ago
    Quoted from viper001:

    The three categories that were mentioned left out important stuff that only Expo offers. The most industry folks are at Expo by far, and many times they will speak in seminars and fireside chats, etc. Additionally it's the only show that will offer a tour of the new Stern facility. Plus it has several tournaments that have been well received. If you are going to compare pinball shows Expo is Comic-Con San Diego, the rest are all very nice but are in a different league.

    Exactly. I have always gone to Expo to look for cool or hard to find parts to purchase, attend interesting seminars, go on the factory tour (unless it looks to be not much different than the year before), talk to pin designers (like when Dwight Sullivan told me how to get off on the 3rd floor a second time on WHOdunnit for SECRET MANIA scoring) and socialize with friends and fellow pinball enthusiasts. Sure, I'll play a few games on pins I haven't seen before (like the first time I saw WOZ), but going to any show mainly just to play pinball wouldn't interest me. And now when I attend a show, I hope to run into a few Pinsiders and maybe match up faces with screen names.

    #32 5 years ago

    Expo is a unique experience because it is in Chicago. All the game designers can drive there. nobody has to fly and the promoters don't have to really beg people to come or offer airfare/hotel, because they're all within driving distance. The Stern tour has been pretty boring last few years because it's the same old same old. But with the new Stern factory the tour this year should actually be pretty cool. That said the play experience at Expo is generally not as good as most shows. Almost always under 100 games and a lot of them are broken or gone when they get sold. Last year, the 30th year, was an exception to this. It was quite refreshing to see 150+ games there. I hope they can do that kind of thing every year, it would really make expo fantastic. Because expo is the original pinball show in offers a lot of stuff that other shows just can't.

    For buying games Allentown always seems to be the best show. I don't think I've been to any show that competes with Allentown for the number of games available for sale. That has to do just with a large population area that surrounds Allentown. It's got New York down to Washington DC to Baltimore to New Jersey.

    But most people attend shows for really just one reason. And that's to play pinball. And not a lot of shows really excel in this area unfortunately. This is where the Ann Arbor show does really well.

    #33 5 years ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    At 300 fully restored (and no duplicates, unlike ReplayFx), it will have the widest variety of games anywhere.

    For the record, ReplayFX had just over 390 unique pinball titles for play.

    Never been to the VFW show but it sounds like a fantastic experience. I hope I can make it to the next one!

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