PinHeads unite! What better way to channel your inner wizard than a day at the Allentown PinFest – the Lehigh Valley’s premier pinball event. PinFest features over 200 pinball games, as well as various arcade favorites. Machines range from nostalgia-inducing to state-of-the-art, with graphics that are probably more sophisticated than your TV.
All games are set to “free play,” so no need to scrounge up a fistful of quarters. Daily admission is $20 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under, and free for children under 5 (bring a stool for your wee one!). No animals or strollers, but if you have a pinball-playing, stroller-riding animal, please post it on the PinFest Facebook page so we can all enjoy it.
The expo is open to the public on Friday, May 4 from 12 p.m.-9 p.m., and Saturday, May 5 from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Pro tip: Get there early for shorter lines on popular games. For those looking to take their flipper skills to the next level, there also tournament options; details on signing up can be found here. If you’re in the market to purchase (and make your friends jealous), don’t hesitate to pull the trigger – many of the machines are available for sale or trade, and tend to get snatched up early.
Founded in the 1990s, PinFest has grown exponentially each year, welcoming thousands of players and vendors over a multi-ball (er, I mean multi-day) stretch. In addition to the gaming area, there is also a flea market with various parts and modifications for games. For visitor Nic Shell, “It’s all about the projects, parts, and pals.”
For those new to the pinball community – don’t be shy! Jump in on a multiplayer game or offer to play “split flip” – where you and a partner each control one flipper throughout the game. For 18-time attendee Mike Frasca, there are always “lots of great friends made, and lots of great games played.”
The festival is located in the Agri-Plex at the Allentown Fairgrounds (302 N. 17th St). Parking is free, and the on-site snack bar will help fuel your new high scores. Happy flipping! For more information, visit pinfestival.com or the festival’s official Facebook event.