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Stars, Strikes and celebration
Saturday is day of fun for family
Stars and Strikes 4 es
Brooks Sutton plays the arcade game "Paradise Lost" Tuesday at Stars and Strikes. - photo by Emily Saunders
At a glance

Community Family Fun Day will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Stars and Strikes, 133 Merchants Square in Cumming. All inside activities during that time will be $2, including food at the snack bar. For more information, call (678) 965-5707 or visit

A lot has happened in five years for Stars and Strikes Family Entertainment Center.

Since opening in July 2005, the Cumming location has grown to include more attractions, the company has branched into Dacula and Dallas and soon will welcome its fourth location in Cherokee County.

“The first time we opened the door, we couldn’t service all the customers that came in,” said Chris Albano, managing partner. “We weren’t ready ... we were overwhelmed right out of the gate.

“The folks in Forsyth County voted overwhelmingly that they liked it and that it was a great thing. We’ve enjoyed that relationship for five years.”

To celebrate its fifth anniversary, the company will hold Community Family Fun Day on Saturday.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., bowling, laser tag, bumper cars, arcade games and other regular attractions will be half price.

There will also be about 45 vendors in the 52,000-square-foot facility offering face painting, inflatables, crafts, music and other family activities.

“There’s just about everything you can imagine,” said Mark VanBuskirk, manager of the Cumming facility. “We’re very excited about this. All of us are. We’re hoping for big things because it’s our fifth year.”

VanBuskirk has been manager since the beginning. He moved from Pennsylvania because he thought it would be a fun place to work. He said he’s not been disappointed.

Since his first day, VanBuskirk has seen the addition of bumper cars, boutique bowling and a daily Texas hold ’em tournament.

“We’re continually looking at new things all the time,” he said. “It’s keeping us fresh.”

While some months are more popular than others, Albano said an average of about 5,000 people visit Stars and Strikes in Cumming each week.

In addition to families, the company plays host to birthday parties, bowling leagues, church groups and sports teams.

“That’s kind of the reason we started this business,” Albano said. “We offer something for everyone.”

As long as there’s a market for Stars and Strikes, Albano said he will continue to expand.

It’s not about numbers, he said, it’s about finding “growth markets where the population is moving, a younger demographic where children and families are.”

“Once we feel those markets are saturated with our product, we’ll be done in Atlanta,” he said. “People are calling us wanting us to take the concept out of state. Right now, we’re focused on close to home.”

In the meantime, Albano said the main focus is on the anniversary celebration Saturday. It’s the company’s way to “recognize the community and give back to people that have really made us successful.”