The Minnesota State Fair is one of those annual events that I look forward to each year for many reasons. You’ve heard us talk about the “Great Minnesota Get-Together” before, so I’ll spare you all the reasons why I think it’s an event not to be missed. Instead, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite new events at the fair, Pinball on-a-Stick.

It’s no surprise to those of us who grew up in the arcades and behind the flippers of a million wooden cabinets, that things are not what they used to be. What once was a forest of local arcades sucking the quarters out of millions of teen-agers pockets has been slowly destroyed tree by tree. Even the amusement-park simulators that were all the rage in the late 90’s and early 2000 have gone the way of the dodo as once-thought stalwarts like GameWorks close their doors.

So it is that in every county or state fair I manage to attend, one of the first things I do is look for an arcade. Like an Indiana Jones with a nose for electronics, I hunt the fairgrounds for the familiar tent with the million power cables running to a giant junction box. It’s the surest sign of late 80’s coin op machines in the wild. Last year, my hunt bore some delicious fruit as the dreaded Butterfly Garden (which had threatened to kill the arcade space the past few years) gave a precious slice of it’s fairground real estate to not just an arcade, but a room dedicated to classic pinball games.

It’s called Pinball on-a-Stick and it’s the brainchild of Brian Millard, a resident of Farmington, MN. Brian is a collector of classic pinball machines and has filled a section of the arcade with a solid set of machines from his own personal collection. With the aid of friend Ryan Marincovich and a volunteer team of pinball collectors and enthusiasts from the area, a room right next to the Grandstand becomes one of the best spots for pinball for a week and a half.

From some of the classic machines such as Adam’s Family, Black Knight and Whirlwind to some of the best modern Stern machines, Pinball on-a-Stick really satisfies the old school pinball fan. Not only is the selection great but the machines are in top notch condition and play like a dream. Prices are reasonable at .50 a play and the spirit of the old school arcades is there in spades. Fairgoers young and old stop by and drop a few quarters into these classic machines. Each time I’ve walked into the room, there seems to be a machine or five in action. It’s a great time.

You can find more information on Pinball on-a-Stick over at their website, which can be found here: Pinball

More pictures after the break.

5 Responses to Pinball on-a-Stick

  1. John says:

    Christ, so bummed I didn’t get to go to the State Fair this year. There just wasn’t a day that worked for us. This looks awesome! You should figure out a way to block Moe from viewing this article, though. He’s not allowed to know about cool things at the fair. Dick.

  2. John says:

    I just had a random thought: They should have a chapel at the State Fair called “Christ on a Stick”. Think about it…


  3. MNGwinn says:

    I had no idea that was there, and I went to the fair twice this year. Next year, I guess.

  4. Ryker XL says:

    Cripes! I missed it!!! Knowledge of this heavenly spot would have made my State Fair experience far more enjoyable.

    @John, as sacreligious as your idea may seem…it is still quite clever and funny. Well played!

  5. Ian (DJI) says:

    Why does Minnesota let you have nice things?

    I is responsible! I wants nice things!

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