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San Francisco's Pokémon Spring Celebration Day Is in the Works

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A fan dressed as Pikachu from the 'Pokémon' animated series attends preview night at Comic-Con International on July 8, 2015, in San Diego, California. (Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

Gather your trading cards and Poké Balls. Pokémon fans in San Francisco — and City Hall — are gearing up for a citywide celebration of the iconic Japanese media franchise.

Local leaders propose making April 13, 2024, this year’s “Pokémon Spring Celebration Day,” when residents will be encouraged to visit local libraries to check out books and play games with friends all about Pokémon.

“This is just a fun way to bring the community together that’s not about politics and is encouraging people to just have fun,” says Natalie Gee, a Pokémon super fan and legislative aid for Supervisor Shamann Walton, who helped draft a resolution for the special day. “I have organized Pokémon Go events on my own time since the game first came out, and it is a nice way to meet people in the neighborhood.”

San Francisco supervisors will vote Tuesday on the resolution to officially declare Pokémon Day for 2024, and plans for free festivities are already in the works. This year, fans can find battles, card trading, button making and other Pokémon-themed games at four public library locations on Pokémon Spring Celebration Day, including at the Main Library, Ocean View, Richmond and Park branches.

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Organizers are also working with the creators behind the augmented reality mobile app Pokémon Go to try to create a special “PokéStop” at the Richmond Library, Gee says, where players can refuel on game items like eggs and Poké Balls that are used to catch Pokémon creatures in the game.

San Francisco supervisors will vote Tuesday on the resolution to officially declare Pokémon Day for April 13, 2024, and plans for free festivities are already in the works. (Courtesy of Natalie Gee)

This is the fourth year the city’s libraries will celebrate Pokémon, but it is the first year the city has recognized it as an official citywide event.

“We know Pokémon is so popular. It creates healthy competitions and connects people, and for both kids and grown-ups, it’s a great imaginative world with all different kinds of creatures and diversity,” says Supervisor Connie Chan, the lead sponsor for the resolution. “During the pandemic, for a family like mine with a kid in 2nd grade at that time, finding ways to connect with friends was not easy, and Pokémon Go got us outdoors, and kids could talk about it online.”

Created by Satoshi Tajiri as a Nintendo game in 1996, Pokémon is a global phenomenon spanning video games, animated movies and television shows, trading cards, books and mobile games. Players or “trainers” search to catch all 1,025 Pokémon, also known as pocket monsters, such as popular characters like Pikachu, a yellow creature known for harnessing electricity.

Supervisors Dean Preston, Ahsha Safaí, Myrna Melgar and Shamann Walton are co-sponsoring the resolution.

“We’re often bombarded with news about all the not-so-great stuff going on in our city, but Pokémon Day offers some much-needed wholesome fun for the entire family,” Safaí says in an email. “As a parent, I absolutely love events where I can kick back, let loose and rediscover my inner child while spending quality time with my children.”

San Francisco is scheduled to host the Pokémon World Championships in 2026 at the Moscone Center.

The three-day competition brings together players from around the world to compete in various Pokémon card battles and video game contests for a prize pool totaling more than $2 million.

This year’s world championships will take place in Hawaii in August. Organizers of Pokémon Day say they are looking to organize a smaller competition in San Francisco during the same time to begin to drum up hype before the city hosts the premier event in two years.

Chan had a simple message to those interested: “Go catch ‘em all!”

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