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Chester goes Pokémon GO crazy

Thousands of players descend on city to take part in heritage weekend with a difference

Chester went Pokémon GO crazy at the weekend as thousands of players descended on the city to catch virtual monsters on their smart phones.

The world exclusive event coincided with a first anniversary festival for the worldwide game held in Chicago where server and networking issues spoiled the fun.

In contrast, the Chester event has been hailed a massive success with organisers estimating it brought £3m spending power to the city.

Every corner of the city appeared to be packed with hundreds of young people and families with their eyes glued to phones as they tried to catch virtual monsters.

Chester played host to Pokémon GO players, known as ‘trainers’, from Chester, the rest of the UK and around the globe including a young man who came all the way from Chile.

Chester went Pokemon GO crazy at the weekend. Picture by Chris Holsgrove

Rare ‘legendary’ birds Articuno and Lugia were released leading to mass raids at locations including the Mecca bingo roundabout.

The event was a unique tie up between Niantic Labs, the developer and publisher of the global games phenomenon Pokémon GO, The Pokémon Company International and Chester-based Big Heritage.

Historic sites were turned into 120 PokéStops as part of a heritage weekend with a difference. The aim was to encourage community engagement and education alongside the fun and games.

And the event coincided with the annual Chester Heritage Festival which will also included reenactments and banner making at Chester Castle with other happenings at the amphitheatre, on the Rows, Grosvenor Museum and in Town Hall Square.

Nick Turner wrote on Twitter : “What a crazy day in Chester! Rammed full of Pokémon GO players, first visit to the centre. What a lovely city!”

Paul Dickin posted: “Amazing to see that many people in Chester playing Pokémon. Well done to the organisers.”

Andy Bell told Chester-based Big Heritage: “You guys are legendary for what you have done for Chester this weekend. Well done to all who took part and created this.”

Keira J said: “It’s been much fun. I’m so lucky to live in this amazing city.”

Ange Dawber wrote: “My son had a lot of fun hunting for Pokémon in town (and in and around my house) this weekend. Great atmosphere. Love living in Chester.”

And Chester police were happy. Officers tweeted a made-up picture of a Pokemon in the staff canteen with the words: “Look what found its way into the police canteen! An event attended by thousands in Chester and not a single crime!”

There were a few people poking fun at the activity.

Jack Roberts tweeted: “There are groups of adult men going round with Pokémon gear playing Pokémon GO round Chester.”

Pokémon GO Chester posted: “Non-trainers, the Chester event is for heritage and Pokémon GO. It’s great for the economy, so please don’t belittle people who enjoy it.”

Chester went Pokemon GO crazy at the weekend. Picture: Steve Casey Photography

And the same account posted: “Thank you to all of the trainers who have visited Chester this weekend. It was great talking to so many of you. You made it very fun for us.”

Big Heritage tweeted: “The Pokémon GO community have been incredible this weekend. Helping each other, chatting to strangers, good spirited and sensible. Thanks all.”

Managing director Dean Paton added: “Not a single crime reported and we beat Chicago event happening at the same time. Possibly £3m spent in the city.”

And he promised ‘lot’s more to come’ from the partnership behind the successful weekend.

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