CHICAGO — Hailing Chicago as “one of the world’s best party cities,” leaders of the American Amusement Machine Association say the amusements industry will find a pot of gold at the 2006 edition of the Amusement Showcase International. The city’s famed St. Paddy’s parade begins at 11:00 AM on Saturday, Mar. 11, kicking off an entire week of Irish-themed celebrations. The ASI show, slated for March 16 through 18 at the city’s Hyatt Regency, will feature many holiday-themed events. “We’re very excited to have the show over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend,” said officials.
Organizers are also touting ASI’s positioning as the U.S. industry’s only spring show. “ASI is used as a launching pad for newly innovative and classic product lines by every major equipment manufacturer and supplier of parts, products and services,” said AAMA officials.
Highlights of ASI 2006 will be a new seminar program organized by the International Association for the Leisure and Entertainment Industry; a free arcade giveaway of more than $75,000 in new equipment; the return of the Texas Hold-‘Em Tournament as a charity fundraiser; an all-show Operators Cocktail Party; tours of nearby amusement machine factories; and of course, the full spectrum of exhibits featuring products, services, supplies and more. The 2005 ASI Show, which brought the industry back to Chicago for the first time in many years, featured displays by 140 exhibitors in 442 booths.
As a key promotional incentive to strengthen attendance, AAMA’s ASI Show and Industry Promotion Committees have announced the first ever Free Arcade Giveaway, which will take place during the 2006 outing. More than $75,000 worth of equipment will be given away to winners of a drawing to be held Saturday, Mar. 18 at 12:00 noon in the AAMA booth. Showgoers will have a chance to win one of three different levels of prizes, with the grand prize being a small “arcade,” consisting of a combination of several different amusement products. The winners will be allowed to choose their prizes from a listing of products supplied by participating AAMA member companies.
AAMA members and non-members interested in having their products as part of the Free Arcade Giveaway are requested to contact the AAMA for further details.
ASI 2006 will offer two tracks of seminars. The IALEI seminar program begins on March 14 and includes such presentations as the marketing session Not Always Fun & Games, given by Dorothy Lewis of Fun Station Associates (Danbury, CT); the merchandising and redemption topic Increasing Attendance & Revenue, presented by IALEI president Frank Seninsky of Amusement Entertainment Management (E. Brunswick, NJ); buying strategy for games, as covered in Making the Right Choices, a presentation by George Smith of Paradigm Entertainment Group (San Francisco, CA); and the finance session Show Me the Money, given by David Cohen, CEO of Firestone Financial.
Other IALEI sessions include Should You Invest?, a seminar presented by AEM’s Jerry Merola that discusses feasibility studies; Knowing How to Construct Contracts and Permitting; Hiring and Training…the Key to Success, presented by Alan Ramsay of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not (Orlando, FL); and finally, Lewis surveys a key promotional tactic in Birthday Parties – Essential to Making the Bottom Line. Students in the IALEI seminar program will be able to take a guided tour of the ASI show. In all, the IALEI track was summed up as “a good training program that ASI created in cooperation with IALEI, which has a wonderful educational tradition,” said AAMA president Rudowicz.
The second ASI educational track features the association’s traditional sessions hosted by manufacturers, who will provide hands-on information about their products.
THE SOCIAL SCENE
The Operators Cocktail Party will be held Thursday, March 16, immediately after exhibits close. Last year’s party drew as many as 1,800 people and continued for several hours past the scheduled ending time.
This year’s Texas Hold-‘Em tournament takes place from 7:00 PM to 12:00 midnight on Friday night (St. Pat’s Day) at the Hyatt. The tournament benefits the American Amusement Machine Charitable Foundation. “We anticipate a large turnout this year; everybody had tremendous fun last year and said they’d be back, as will some new faces,” said AAMA officials. Billed as the Shamrock Shimmy, the event welcomes both pros and rookies.
The AAMCF is now accepting donations and sponsorship requests for ASI 2006 fundraising events including the 2006 Blarney Silent Auction. More than $30,000 worth of merchandise was donated in 2005. Donation forms and sponsorship requests are now available on AAMA’s website. “By supporting the American Amusement Machine Charitable Foundation, you are supporting two children’s charities, the Children’s Miracle Network and K.E.E.N.,” noted AAMA president Mike Rudowicz.
Also available will be tours of Chicago area manufacturers and subcontractors including Stern Pinball and Grand Products.Visit the official Amusement Showcase International website for more information on the 2006 trade show, asi-show.com. For AAMCF donation information, call (847) 290-9171 or visit coin-op.org.