Arts and Culture

Pokemon Go the Latest Draw at the Denver County Fair, Following Pot and Kitties

First it was the Pot Pavilion. Then, when pot got too hot, the Denver County Fair introduced the Kitten Pavilion. Now organizers of the sixth annual fair, which runs July 29 through 31, are jumping on a brand-new fad: Pokémon Go. "We're changing up the county-fair model as usual," says Tracy Weil, the fair's creative director. "We're the only county fair with a Geek Pavilion, so it seemed fitting to host a live Poké-Hunt all weekend."

Yes,  the project came together quickly; after all, the game was only released last Thursday. But when Weil sat down with the app yesterday, "I was hooked immediately," he says. "I was looking at it before I went to bed, and I dreamed about Pokémon all night."

And then when he woke up, he went to the National Western Complex, the site of the fair, and found a Pokémon gym there — so the Poké-Hunt seemed a natural promotion. Starting at 4 p.m. Friday, July 29, fair organizers will set over 200 Pokémon "Lures" near the National Western PokéStop. Once activated, "Lure" modules will attract wild Pokémon — perhaps the rare Mewtwo and Mew,  maybe Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres.

"We'll also be organizing a 'Pokémon Go' Lure Party on Friday evening, as well as Saturday and Sunday afternoons," explains Weil. "The fair will be setting multiple lures for the party, and you can meet up in the Geek Pavilion to exchange tips and stories about which Pokémon characters you've captured. Pokémon tournaments will also be held in the nearby Pokémon Gym."

If you post a photo of a Pokémon you caught at the fair on the Denver County Fair Facebook page, you'll be entered into a contest for a chance to win one of five Family of Four passes to the 2017 Denver County Fair.

The fair isn't just about Pokémon, of course. There will be a Kitten Pavilion again — the star this year is Venus, the two-faced cat; local celebrity Floyd the Lion will also be on hand — as well as a Holistic Pavilion, a Style Pavilion and all the other attractions people have come to love at the DCF. But the Poké-Hunt definitely has the potential to be this year's biggest hit — if the fad lasts that long, that is.

"It might be over by then," Weil admits. But a new craze is bound to crop up. "We're always innovators around here," he adds.

You can download Pokémon Go for free from the Google play or app stores. Denver County Fair admission is $10 for adults, $4 for children five to twelve; group discounts are also available. Find more information at

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun