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Planned ‘Pokémon Go’ pub crawl attracts big following in Sacramento

Bloomberg

Two roommates who want to “boom the economy” in midtown Sacramento with a “Pokémon Go” pub crawl next week asked Sacramento City Council members for help Tuesday night.

On Facebook, 1,500 people have said they’ll attend the pub crawl and at least 5,700 have expressed interest in an event that blends the explosively popular “augmented-reality” cellphone game with drinking.

The game requires walking from place to place to capture imaginary creatures in real places, prompting a steady stream of people to roam Sacramento streets in the past week, hopping between businesses and landmarks.

Joseph Gutierrez, 28, and Sam Van Stone, 24, are planning a gathering of enthusiasts July 23 at 3:30 p.m. beginning at J and 28th streets, near a concentration of bars such as Red Rabbit and Barwest.

They posted the event on Facebook at Sacramento Pokémon Go Pub Crawl and expected a few friends to take part. But it quickly went viral, leaving them wondering if they needed a permit from city officials.

Joe and I are huge proponents of midtown and the Kings. We just want to boom the economy a little bit.

Sam Van Stone, 24, who’s planning a “Pokémon Go” pub crawl

The roommates attended the City Council meeting Tuesday to “let them know what’s going on,” said Van Stone, who has reached Level 7 of the popular game.

Councilman Steve Hansen, who represents the midtown area where the pub crawl is planned, quickly offered to facilitate. He said Wednesday that the organizers do not need a permit. But he has involved the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as business districts in the area, because the pub crawl will coincide with the Sacratomato Festival.

Hansen’s positive response made Van Stone more confident about the expected crowd.

“The way the City Council reacted to us and how Councilman Hansen said he was going to help us out makes me feel a lot more comfortable about it,” he said.

Van Stone said he and Gutierrez have already reached out to bars and many are going to participate with “colored drinks and all sorts of special drinks for that night.”

The event is less about the game and more about helping the city, he said.

“Joe and I are huge proponents of midtown and the Kings,” he said. “We just want to boom the economy a little bit.”

Augmented-reality cell phone game "Pokémon Go" has taken America by storm, including Sacramento. Players and business owners talk about their experiences.

Anita Chabria: 916-321-1049, @chabriaa

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