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Tips for Visiting
the Chicagoland Slot/Juke Show

Insiders Guide
to the Largest
Gameroom Show in the USA


If you are into jukeboxes, slot machines, gumballs, or other unique and fun items for your gameroom then you'll want to visit the Chicagoland Antique Advertising, Slot Machine & Jukebox Show that takes place in St. Charles, IL twice a year. If you are a first time visitor or a regular attendee, below are a series of tips to help make your visit even more productive.

  • The Two-Day Show
    Is Really a Three-Day Show

    Most people come on Saturday or Sunday and visit over 300 booths of gameroom fun, collectibles and nostalgia. But the show really opens on Friday, the set-up day, where an extra 50-100 dealers fill the parking lot, in flea market style, selling all kinds of items. Admission to the show on Friday is $50, while it is only $6 to visit the show on Saturday and Sunday.

  • The Show Opens Earlier
    Than Advertised on Friday

    The Expo Center opens at 8 am on Friday for the dealers to set up their booths. The flea market on the parking lot next to the Expo Center starts at dawn around 5:30 am when all the dealers start to unload their trucks.

  • More is Inside
    Than is Outside

    You must go inside the Expo Center to see most of the items that are for sale. Even though there are thousands of items for sale in the parking lot, you will find that most of the more valuable and better restored items, wall decorations, the more fragile items, the smaller items, and parts and restoration supplies are never displayed in the parking lot.

    The parking lot tends to have a heavier concentration of items that need work, need to be repaired or are missing parts. It's great for the do-it-yourselfer, but can be disappointing to those who want a reliable, good looking nostalgic item for their gameroom.

  • Early Bird
    Gets the Worm

    One of a kind, highly desirable and collectible items tend to sell quickly . . . which means a visit to the show on Friday is a necessity if you are looking for those items.

  • One Visit
    Is Not Enough

    The merchandise that appears on the parking lot early Friday morning is different from the merchandize you'll see later on Friday when all the dealers have unpacked and set up their booths. Since many dealers are still buying on Friday evening and even on Saturday and Sunday morning by visiting contacts in the Chicago area, new merchandize shows up at the show on Saturday and Sunday.

  • The Prices Change

    Some dealers put lower prices on their merchandize on Friday because they discount to other dealers or because they want to be sure of a sale. Others reduce their prices Saturday afternoon or Sunday if they haven't sold their items. If a dealer has three of an item and he sells the first two quickly, he may raise the price on the third one. Others set their prices before the show and don't change them. They will sell their items in another venue if they don't sell at the show.

  • Two Shows In One

    Some people are so impressed with what they see in the Expo Center, they forget there is a large second exhibition hall, a ballroom, filled with lots of more items. The ballroom is connected to the Expo Center by a covered walkway. Since the newest dealers at the show are generally given a spot in the ballroom, a visit there is a must if you don't want to miss something new, unusual or different.

  • Not-Available Elsewhere Many of the items displayed at the show are virtually one-of-a-kind items, either antique, limited edition or custom made, and are not available anywhere else Many dealers don't have a web site and don't have stores or sell all they can make, repair or restore at the show.

  • Here Today
    Gone Tomorrow

    Many show attendees are disappointed after they browse the show and then come back an hour or more later to buy an item only to find out that it sold and there are no more available. Show goers frequently defer a purchase because they want to see what else is available or because they don't want to carry it with them. Most of these show goers leave the show disappointed. What are your options?

    • You can quickly go through the whole show in the first half hour to see what is available and then go back to buy those items that are not available in quantity. You can then browse the rest of the show more slowly.

    • You can buy an item when you first see it and then ask the dealer to hold it for you. You'll have to pay in full, but at least it will be there when you are ready to go home.

  • How to Pay Most dealers don't accept credit cards and unless they know you personally, they won't accept a check, so to be safe bring cash.

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    The Chicagoland Slot/Juke Show takes places twice a year in April and November of each year. It takes place north of Chicago. For more information, visit http://www.ChicagolandShow.com




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Ken Durham
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