Several thousand people came to Grayslake and to the Lake County Fairgrounds for the Chicagoland Antique Advertising, Slot Machine and Jukebox Show.
The three day show ran through Nov. 19, featuring more than 300 vendors, taking up the Expo Hall of the Lake County Fairgrounds indoor showroom.
The Chicagoland Antique Advertising, Slot Machine & Jukebox Show is considered the largest show of its type, according to Tilt Promotions of Wadsworth, show producer. The show is in its 43rd year.
“We have a lot of visitors from not only Illinois but all the surrounding states, so it’s easy to get to,” said Kevin Greco, spokesperson for the show on behalf of Tilt Promotions.
Greco listed Tennessee, Florida, Indiana, and “coast to coast.
“California, New York, Washington, and countries represented, we have, of course, the United States, we have Canada, Italy, we have Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, so a lot of European countries,” Greco said. “Americana is very popular worldwide.”
Greco said the show brings tourism dollars into Lake County.
“Lake County has a lot to offer us,” Greco said.
The show was at the now closed Pheasant Run in Saint Charles and has thrived in Grayslake, Greco said, especially during November at the start of the holiday shopping season.
“You can buy presents or maybe it’s a present for yourself,” Greco said.
Besides older Western slot machines in this year’s inventory, Greco said that this month, “There’s a lot of really cool kiddie rides that are spectacular.”
By the time the show opened on Saturday morning, a kiddie ride featuring Dumbo, the famous elephant from the renowned animated Disney movie, was already sold. Movers were waiting with a van outside to drive Dumbo to Atlanta, Georgia. Another kiddie ride, the Moon Rocket, was also being transported.
It could be said that Dumbo and the Moon Rocket could not fly to their new home or crib.
“It’s his first flight, he’s a little new at it,” joked dealer Daniel Cooney of Tustin, California, of Cooney Island Antiques, who sold Dumbo, a refurbished circa 1980s kiddie ride, the day before the show opened for $20,000. Dumbo weighs about 250 pounds and needed a rolling platform to get the baby elephant to the truck.
Collectors are attracted to rides like Dumbo because, “It kind of brings them back to their childhoods, these kiddie rides,” Cooney said.
“People buy them for their grandkids, they put them next to their car collections and they just remember these when they were a kid.”
Cooney remembers them as a child and is heavily influenced by Disney fandom.
“It just brings back memories,” Cooney said.
Cooney worked for Walt Disney for 20 years building, “all the rides for Disneyland, Disney World, Epcot and I was doing this kind of stuff on the side.”
Cooney worked in different departments for Walt Disney and built rides in a plant.
“Disney was the best place in the whole world,” to work, Cooney said. “Great guys, I mean, we built steam locomotives, monorails, everything at Epcot, in our plant (Glendale, California).
“Our plant was bigger than this building,” Cooney said.
Of collectibles, Cooney said that, “a lot of this stuff goes only up in price. You buy it now, five years, it’s worth double and triple.
“That’s one thing about collectibles, they only go up in price.”
Debra Olson and Greg Goluska of Rockville, Indiana, famous for its covered bridges, drove nearly five hours to Grayslake (staying in a Lake County hotel) and waited happily for the doors to open at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
“We have a collection of jukeboxes and slot machines,” Olson said.
The couple’s collection includes coin operated games too.
About Greg Goluska, “I’ve never seen him so happy, so early in the morning, and this is Christmas (for Goluska),” Olson said.
“That’s true,” said Greg Goluska who also collects old wooden chocolate cases.
“We want to say that if you started your holidays here, this would make you so happy inside because this brings the child out in everyone,” Olson said.
To Olson, “I’m with her,” Goluska said appreciatively.