Photo by Casey Ryan.

Local vendors host Pokemon GO event at Lake Eola


Pokémon GO is still going strong in Orlando as vendors hosted a large gaming event at Lake Eola Saturday night. 

The event was organized by 23-year-old musician and touring disc jockey Mig Mhkaz Garcia. 

“I saw that there were a bunch of people that wanted to get together and do something, but nobody was really organizing anything,” Garcia said. “So I decided to kind of step up to the plate and organize something.”

He said that he had already hosted five or six Pokémon GO events. The Lake Eola event was meant to be held in July as Garcia’s first event, but he pushed it back to get necessary city permits and sponsors to help with expenses.  

Vendor Andres Punto sold Pokémon hats, including caps that mimicked the look of Ash Ketchum’s original cap in the animated show. 

“I think it’s a good idea,” Punto said when speaking about the event. “It gets people out, especially on a nice evening [such as tonight], and it lets people kind of do Pokémon in a safe location without having to worry about traffic or anything like that.”

Another vendor Luke Tucker of Luke’s Pokéstop sold Pokémon GO bracelets with built-in LED lights.

“In my own [home] town, I saw a lot of people out hunting at night with Pokémon, and half of them were just looking at their phones and not paying attention to kind of where they’re going,” Tucker said. “And I thought there’s got to be a way to hunt more safely, be cool and represent their teams.”

He offers bracelets in red, blue and yellow to represent the game’s Valor, Mystic and Instinct teams.

Boutique Beauvais, a new business in Orlando, sold wooden watches and wooden bow ties. 

People stopped by each vendor continuously. 

Many people at the Pokémon GO event played with their families. Andrew Niemann was at Lake Eola with his wife.

“It’s pretty crazy, especially when it first came out, all the players that it had going into it,” Niemann said about the game. “But it continues to have a lot of people playing it.”

The event was a success, and Garcia may host two more in Tampa and Kissimmee, Florida if sponsors want to continue. He said that these events help break people out of their shells, but organizing events with such high demand can be overwhelming.

Garcia started non-profit organization Orlando United Against Hate after the Pulse shooting to encourage people to build relationships they aren’t used to. The non-profit will be organizing events similar to the Pokémon GO event at Lake Eola in the future.

“It’s changing everything,” Garcia said about the Pokémon GO. “There are a lot of businesses involving themselves professionally just because it’s a smart marketing move for them. There are a lot of people that are using it for fitness. There are a lot of people that are using it to break out of their social shells.”