Pokémon Go Fest: What It Is And How to Join In

Pokémon Go is just over one year old, and we're finally seeing something promised in the original trailers: events that take place with lots of other people in the real world.

The first is Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago's Grant Park, which will take place on July 22. Not in the Windy City? There are still some ways to celebrate. Here's what you need to know about Pokémon Go Fest.

Credit: Niantic

(Image credit: Niantic)

What is Pokémon Go Fest?

Pokémon Go Fest is the first live event for Pokémon Go, which will involve players gathering together in Chicago's Grant Park on July 22 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. CDT. The event will involve three challenges with different goals to complete.

What do I do at Pokémon Go Fest?

There will be three, thirty-minute challenge windows where players explore Grant Park and try to catch specific types of Pokémon to earn rewards. Those rewards range from an increased spawn rate to more XP to more distance for their buddy creature. If they catch enough Pokémon for the top, "Gold Tier" prize, it will unlock a mystery challenge later in the day, exclusive to those in the park. If they defeat that challenge, every player in the world will get a special benefit, but we don't yet know what that is.

The event will also offer team lounges to hang with people on the same crew as you, a special PokéStop-lined walking course, an exclusive in-app medal and a wide variety of rare Pokémon showing up in one place.

Will there be any rare Pokémon there?

You bet. If the challenges are met, the rare legendary birds -- Aricuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Lugia and Ho-Oh will show up in Grant Park.

What if I'm not in Chicago?

Consider yourself part of the support team. Catching as many Pokémon as you can -- wherever you are -- during the challenge windows gives bonuses to those catching Pokémon in Chicago, who will need all the help they can get to unlock the mystery bonus. And if trainers in Chicago capture the legendary birds, those Pokémon will show up in Raid Battles all around the globe.

MORE: Pokémon Go Glossary: Know These Terms

How can I get tickets to Pokémon Go Fest?

Bad news, my friend. Tickets are already sold out. To make it worse, as of this writing, people are selling the entrance wristbands on eBay, with bids going up as high as $200 as of this writing.

Are any other events coming up?

You bet. The game's events page lists a series of Safari Zone events in Europe that will show off rare monsters previously only available in the U.S. and Japan, as well as festivities in the UK's Big Heritage festival and a "Pikachu Outbreak" in Japan. Click here for details.

Andrew E. Freedman

Andrew E. Freedman is an editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming as well as keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag, Complex, Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag among others.