The Ann Arbor Michigan Pinball Museum will have their 2018 pinball showcase Friday May 4th to Sunday May 6th. Our facility is the one of the largest dedicated pinball venues (by unique game count) in North America and has games from the 1950s “woodrails” to the latest games from Stern pinball. Every decade, manufacturer and game type is represented at the museum. There are many rare and hard to find games set up and ready to play. All machines are free play, so one entrance ticket allows unlimited play for the day. There’s something for every pinball fan here (we are the one of the largest dedicated pinball facility in North America.) But unlike other pinball museum type facilities, we are here every day working on our machines, making sure they play perfect! Arguably this makes us the best working/restored pinball collection in North America.
2018 Showcase Dates and Times.
This will be our fifth VFW showcase, and below are the following days.
– Friday May 4th, 2018
– Saturday May 5th, 2018
– Sunday May 6th, 2018
* There are pinball tournament options which expand the show hours on Friday and Saturday.
Tickets for the 2018 Pinball Show
Tickets for the showcase will be available in advance only. We want to ensure that all attendees have the absolute best possible experience and have plenty of room to mingle and experience and play the pinball machines. To do this we have a limited number of tickets available for each day. Once the limit is reached, we are sold out, and no more tickets will be issued. Hence generally speaking there will not be tickets available at the door. Yes it is possible we may have door tickets, however this will be a last minute decision. So if you want to guarantee a ticket, it’s best to get one from our Ticket reservation web page. In years past we completely sold out (as in every ticket for every day sold!), so don’t wait until the last minute to get your show ticket.
Why is the Ann Arbor Pinball Show better and different?
First off nearly everyone goes to pinball shows to play games (versus say going to seminars or other related activities.) Hence the number of working games ready for play is a big draw to our show (most shows struggle to get 100 games.) And at the Ann Arbor Pinball Museum, there are no duplicate titles. Meaning when we say there are this many games, there are that number and all with unique titles. (There’s aren’t five Addams Family pinballs, for example.) Hence there is more variety and more representation of pinball’s history. We strive to have all the popular games, and many rare machines, all restored and working.
Also the games are already on site. No set up or tear down like other shows. This means they are leveled, prep’ed, and ready for play. Also the show has the same games on Friday as their are on Sunday (many shows have problems with games leaving early, making the last show day lame.) And there’s a full on-site repair and parts shop (biggest pinball parts department in Michigan), so if anything breaks, it gets repaired quickly and easily. Finally the venue is customized for pinball. That is it’s not a converted school or hotel – it’s a permanent fixture with proper power and display requirements for pinball.
Additionally, all the modern games with dot matrix displays have “glare guards” and color dot matrix displays (where available.) This makes the playing experience a lot better than a typical pinball show. Also some games even have headphone jacks for a better sound experience. No other pinball show offers these features!
Can you bring a game to the showcase?
Yes! Bring a game to the Ann Arbor VFW pinball showcase is welcome – we encourage people to bring games to the show! If you want to bring a game you’re proud to show it off, or if you’re trading or selling to a friend and want a place to meet, that would be great. Doors to the hall are at ground level and within 20 feet of a drop off area, and we have many pinball carts available to borrow. We will have a dedicated area set aside for visiting pinball machines. And you have complete control of your game, when it comes, and when it leaves. If you are bring a game title which we don’t already have, you get FREE show admission. Our goal is to showcase our collector quality games and any quality machines that the pinball public wants to bring. Also you can bring your game to the show anytime. That is, bring it a week before (you’re not forced into bring it only on “set up day.”) Same goes for pickup… If you can’t pick up your game for a few days after the show, no problem. We’re trying to make this whole process very easy! In addition, we will fix your machine if it breaks (assuming you give us the key), and we’ll even clean your game before you pick it up. No other show offers these incentives!
Pinball Tournament (Dominos Pizza sponsored.)
Our tournament will be the “4TH ANNUAL EM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS”, on Friday morning of the show at 10:30am. Note this is *before* the show opens, so there’s no problems with games being used in the tournament while the show is open. The tourney will be a match play, three strikes style event (note could be two strikes, depends on the number of participants.) That is, no qualifying, rounds start right at 10:30am sharp (please get to the show a early to sign in), and each round is about 15 minutes. It’s a best 2 out of 3 style rounds (two names and a game are randomly drawn from a hat, you play best 2 out of 3 games to determine a winner.) If you loose a round, that’s a strike. Three strikes and you’re out (due to time, this may be modified to two strikes.) We keep going until there’s just two people left, and that’s the finals. All play is on EM machines (perhaps some early solidstate chime machines too). Note there is no money to be won, just gift cards and trophies. Dominos Pizza will be providing lunch at noon, and Dominos Pizza gift cards. The winners (first and second place) get completely goofy trophies, and the ability to brag they are the EM World Champs Champs, and pizza gift cards. In addition to the tournament, those that strike out also gain access to the main pinball hall early on Friday! (The show officially opens at 4pm.) For the $20 cost of the tournament, you get tournament play plus lunch plus early entry to the Friday showcase. (Note you must also buy a ticket for the Friday showcase too to get into the show early, though you don’t need a show ticket to compete in the tournament.) Tickets for the Friday tournament (limited to 64 players) are available on the ticket page.
There is also another tournament Saturday night, our “Woodrail and Early Bally EM Tourney”, at 8pm. This tournament is played on woodrail pinball machines (1950 to 1960) and 1960s Bally EMs. This is probably the only woodrail/Bally tournament is the world. The show itself closes at 8pm, so this tournament does not interfere the show. No cash prizes, just trophies. Tickets for the Saturday tournament (limited to 64 players) are available on the ticket page. Note a show ticket is not needed to compete. Cost of this tournament is $20.
We do have space for vendors who will be showing their products. (Please contact us if you’re interested in doing this.) There is no cost for being a vendor (vendor space is FREE, as is show admission for vendors.) In the past we had the following vendors:
- Abel Electronics. Bring a Jersey Jack Hobbit to the showcase.
- VirtuaPin (pinball parts)
- Gameroom Guys of Grand Rapids
- PinRestore.com (restoration parts and tools)
- BgResto.com (backglass restoration services)
- Wiley Amusements (game sales, Fenton MI)
- Ryan Claytor, pinball art god.
- Virtual Pinball, Holly Michigan
Note the Ann Arbor pinball museum does not sell games or parts, so all we can do is point you to the above vendors.
Set Up Day.
Friday from 10am to 4pm is set up time. If you’re a vendor or bring a game, that’s a great time to do it. This time is only for people involved in helping the show, those that bring games or flea market parts for sale, and for vendors, etc. Also if you need to set up days before that (for whatever reason), that’s no problem too. But we schedule the “regular” set up time as Friday 10am to 4pm.
Just a few miles away there are a couple places to stay, if you’re from out of town. We don’t have anything set with them, so you will have to call/email to see about reservations. The Holiday Inn Express is a nicer place, but the Best Western is a better deal.
- Best Western of Whitemore Lake (about $90 per night and 5 minutes away.)
9897 Main Street
Whitmore Lake, MI 48189
- Holiday Inn Express (about $130 per night and 5 minutes away.)
6910 Whitmore Lake Road
Brighton, MI 48116
- Sunset Cove Bed & Breakfast
10201 Kress Rd.
Pinckney, MI 48169
An amazing B&B that is only about 10 minutes from the show. It’s a modern log cabin style bed and breakfast on Bass Lake and Strawberry Lake. Absolutely stunning place, and they have a pinball machine in the lower level (Gottlieb Silver Slugger) on free play. How cool is that? It’s not cheap, but man it’s nice.
We have space available for overnight camping on the property Friday and/or Saturday night. Note you *must* make reservations to get a camp site, and you must have purchased a show ticket for at least one day. Note that camping spaces are limited. Also please only responsible individuals, and no bonfires or crazy antics. Yes you will have to sign a waver saying you’re not a crazy person and you don’t hold us responsible for anything. Note for the campers, on Saturday night we recommend playing in the Saturday tournament as it will give you access to machines to about midnight. Tickets for camping are limited.
There are two airports close to the show. The best and easiest airport is the Flint Bishop (FNT) airport. This is a smaller airport, but it’s just so much easier to deal with than Detroit Metro airport (DTW). If you can get a flight to Flint (about 45 minutes due north of the show), we recommend that over Detroit Metro (which is about 45 minutes south east.) DTW is a huge airport and hard to navigate. Flint Bishop is smaller and friendlier, and the security is way easier to deal with.
The Ann Arbor pinball museum is located on a scenic 10 acres in the countryside north of Ann Arbor in Green Oak Township. It’s very relaxed and located on a beautiful piece of natural property. The facility has a full pinball restoration shop and of course many games. There’s plenty of parking too. There’s even a covered flea market area for those that want to trade pinball parts with other enthusiasts, or just want to relax outside among our apple trees. Official address is 8891 Spicer rd, Brighton MI 48116