Our dream as a 10-year-old was finally coming true: An arcade all to ourselves, with the kindly, kid-at-heart manager rigging up free games and letting us run wild. Pick a prize, any prize. And there was even a grown-up bonus: We got to take a picture of our boss in the funhouse mirror! The only thing missing was a personal cotton candy machine and a Del’s cart following every step of the way.
Recently, the RIHS visited the Spring Lake Arcade in Burrillville – “The World’s Oldest Penny Arcade Business” – because GM John Bateman, who’s also now running Fantasyland in Seekonk, has been kind enough to lend us vintage – and playable – games for Spring Forward … Think Back: Midway Memories on May 10. Tickets are still available!
Like so many folks we’ve met while planning this event (we’ve made it a point to include cotton candy and Del’s in the catering), Bateman seems to possess limitless knowledge of Rhode Island’s rich legacy of amusement parks, resorts, and other attractions.
On Thursday, May 3, a week before Midway Memories, he’ll take part in a free panel discussion at Aldrich House. RSVP here, and enjoy these photos from our private tour.