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