Off and on rain with temperatures at 72 degrees on July 14 brought out water-type virtual Pokémon and thousands of humans to A Walk In The Park in Lincoln Park for Pokémon GO Fest 2018.
“It’s kind of cool, actually,” said Rob Salkowski from Bloomfield, N. J.
“I didn’t know so many people loved Pokémon this much.”
Chicago launch event in Grant Park on July 22, 2017, had technical difficulties as the game failed to load for many ticket holders, some who traveled from overseas to attend. There was a class action lawsuit.
“I was here last year for the disappointments and everything,” said Justin Herke of Minneapolis.
“But so far the game is working perfect, it’s a big, huge wide open space.”
“Everything is set up perfect,” Herke said.
At last year’s event, shortly after 3 p.m., organizers conceded that network servers couldn’t keep up with the demand for ticket holders to log in or to stay logged in to the game on their phones to play.
“We’re excited, “ said Mike Quigley, chief marketing officer of Niantic. “Folks are having a good time. We got a lot of learning from last year, trying to improve upon things, that’s definitely happening.”
This year, wristband wearers could sign in immediately with their QR codes at designated check-in PokeStops at the south or north park entrances. Some people marveled at how easy it was to get logged in shortly before 10 a.m.
“It’s truly a great experience,” Herke said.
Many carried umbrellas or had their cell phones inside sandwich bags to keep their devices dry. Overcast skies remained all morning with high humidity.
People were smiling and cheering when they caught Pokémon they couldn’t believe appeared on their cell phone screen.
“The Pokémon community is great,” said Patrick Lam of Minneapolis.
“A lot of the friends I’ve met are through the Pokémon community.
“Everyone helps each other out,” Lam said.
Fans caught rare Pokémon called Unowns.
Those are black geometric circular or sticklike Pokémon with names sounding like “unknown.” Legendary Pokémon were also highly desired.
Wristband wearers could win limited edition t-shirts or, for example, be given a yellow Pikachu hat. They could visit jungle, desert, glacial and volcanic habitats and yellow, blue or red team lounges.
“It’s been great,” Lam said.
Thousands of people were expected to be in Lincoln Park over the two weekend event days, organizers said.
“The Pokémon community is amazing,” said Kari McCann of Rochester, N.Y., who was here with her baby Dharius, 7 months, and the child’s father Andrae Chambers, also of Rochester.
“Look at how many people are here,” McCann said.
Dharius wore a bright Pikachu costume and dolled up his stroller.
“We’re really, really excited about it.”
Her first time here, Chambers introduced McCann to Pokemon GO.
“This is year two for me,” Chambers said.
“I went to last year which, from last year to this year, it’s 100 percent different.
“No connection issues, no problems,” Chambers said. “I’ve been having a blast.”
— This year’s Pokemon Go fest A Walk in the Park —