May 16

News : Pinball players go for the flippers, bumpers in Dixon : Daily Republic

Article written and posted in the Daily Republic about the pinball show Pin-a-Go-G0 which took place May 13th – 15th 2016.



DIXON — Eddie Wokas, 11, may have learned a little more than he wanted to Sunday at Pin-a-Go-Go.

His father, Matt Wokas, introduced him to a pinball game he remembered from his childhood. The game was a little slow adding in the bonus points, so Wokas and his friends invented a victory dance while waiting for the machine to tally.

“I showed him the Wizard bonus dance,” Matt Wokas proudly said, showing the moves.

Eddie wasn’t too sure he wanted to demonstrate what he had learned from his father and continued to play the Derby Day pinball machine.

“They’re all amazing,” Eddie said, standing in a room full of machines, some of them dating back to the 1950s and 1960s.

This was the first year the Orangevale father and son had been to Pin-a-Go-Go, which was celebrating its 20th anniversary in Dixon this year.

Matt Wokas recalled having his own pinball machine in his youth. He took it to get restored and never saw it again. “He stole it,” Wokas said of the so-called repairmen.

The Wizard pinball game was one of many a high school friend had in his home, Wokas recalled. “He would swap them in and out,” he said of the machines.

Today, it’s a lot harder to find pinball machines, he said. Wokas said he still loves them and hopes his son will pick up the passion, too.
Getting more youth involved in pinball is one of show’s goals, said Steve Faith, who is part of the Northern California Pinball Association, a nonprofit that produces the show every May. The show also benefits youth charities. Proceeds from the past three years have gone to the Dixon Teen Center.

The center, in turn, brings volunteers to help at the three-day event which brings in about 3,000 guests, Faith said.

“We see the youth as the future of pinball,” Faith said. “Video games have kind of killed pinball.”

Almost 300 pinball machines filled up two halls at the fairgrounds. Once admission was paid, play was free.

Faith grew up in rural Sonoma County and recalled that on the rare times his family dined out, they often went to a restaurant that had a bar with pinball machines. The adults wanted conversation and would give him dimes to play the machines.

“I’d forgotten it (pinball) for years and years,” said the Davis resident. “Then, one day I told my wife, ‘I think I want to buy a pinball machine,’ ” he said.

In researching that purchase, he came across the Northern California Pinball Association and became a member.

Faith said he owns about 14 pinball machines.

He feels there’s a renaissance in pinball and it could grow even more by making machines accessible to youth.

Unlike video games, Faith said, pinball games are more random. “You can’t predict what the metal ball in the machine is going to do,” he said.

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Thanks to the Daily Republic and  for the article and pictures