From couples on one of their first dates to friends who have known each other for years, the Pokémon Go competition at The Big Fresno Fair drew a diverse crowd of players Thursday morning.
Just after 11 a.m., a line began to form at the Ani-Me Con booth with Pokémon trainers eager to enter the competition. The $5 entry fee included a raffle ticket, a button and a chance at prizes including hats, T-shirts or backpacks. By 1 p.m., more than 30 players had signed up, said Ani-Me Con sponsor Rick Thor Phoeung.
Sandra Martinez, 27, took her 11-year-old nephew Brian Peña out of school to play. Martinez liked Pokémon growing up, and she often picks up her nephew to drive around and play.
“I’m your cool aunt,” she told Brian, laughing. “I liked (Pokémon) before you.”
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Rachel Ahrendes met up with Wendel Gash, 35, and Jarrod Huff, 34, “Pokémon friends” she met while hunting in Old Town Clovis. She said her strategy was to look for a Pokémon with a combat power of around 2,000.
Kam Vong, 36, has been dating his girlfriend for two weeks, and they were at the fair on a date. One of the conditions she gave him for dating her was that Vong had to start playing Pokémon Go with her.
“It’s worth it,” he said.
Anthony Gonzales came out to the competition on his day off with his friend Jesse Martinez. The two, who have known each other for more than 25 years, play the game sporadically.
“I thought it’d be a great day to walk a lot, eat some food, meet some people and play some games,” Gonzales said. “I’m not really here for the prize.”
The winner will get to choose from among the prizes, Phoeung said.
The first competition ran from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the second competition of the day was 3 to 7 p.m. Whoever catches the Pokémon with the highest combat power within each game’s time frame will win, said Phoeung. Players are split by levels, so advanced players won’t have an advantage over beginners.
Fair officials said attendance during the first day on Wednesday was good, due in part to dollar admission.
Thursday was “Fans and Followers Day,” during which followers of The Big Fresno Fair on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram had access to a barcode that allowed fair-goers free admission from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Carnival rides also were $2 all day.
The Big Fresno Fair
Gates open: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.
Gates close: Sunday-Thursday, 11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, midnight
Museum: Open until 9 p.m.
Carnival: Monday-Friday, 3 p.m. to close (kiddie carnival opens at 10 a.m. Monday-Friday); Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to close
Horse racing start times: Monday, Thursday, Friday, 1:15 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 12:15 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $10; military, seniors 62 and older, and children ages 6-12, $7; children 5 and under, free
Parking: $15, Chance Avenue lot; $10, Butler Avenue and infield lots; $5, Maple/Butler and Cedar/Kings Canyon lots
Clovis Park and Ride shuttle: Free shuttles pickup every half hour, from 9:40 a.m. to 11 p.m., on Saturdays and Sundays from Clovis Park and Ride at Highway 168 and Temperance Avenue.