Pokémon GO festival draws large crowds to the Loop

Chicago News

CHICAGO — Within view of some of the world’s most iconic architecture, a curiously high number of folks ventured to Maggie Daley Park downtown with their gaze set firmly on their phones.

“You see them walking by with their phone and you know they’re here for Pokémon,” Cris Rivera said.

Even as crews worked to tear down the pop-up Pokémon egg, which served as a spectacular backdrop for this weekend’s festival, crowds continued to search for rare Pokémon lurking around the Loop.

“There’s really no strategy. You just catch and you catch the shineys,” festivalgoer Abel Moreno said.

In a language spoken even by a younger generation, a group of all ages convened to have fun with a universe that spells nostalgia for so many.

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“It’s a good thing, especially with COVID. It’s something you can do outside. People needed something to have fun and not worry about things,” Jourdan Kim, who runs an Instagram account dedicated to collectible toys said.

Since 2017, Chicago has served a pivotal role in these festivals, drawing Pokémon fanatics from across the country while capturing more fans along the way.

“We were able to work together and meet people face-to-face, safely. It was a really great adventure,” festivalgoer Patty Sarkady said.

A welcomed adventure and distraction living in a Pokémon world.

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