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Colonial Williamsburg is used to celebrating the American Revolution, but on Thursday they celebrated a revolution of a different kind by hosting this summer's second "Pokemon Revolution."
Colonial Williamsburg opened its gates to an estimated 400 Pokemon Go players Thursday as trained guides led guests on a Pokemon-themed tour of the historic grounds. A location-based, augmented reality video game, Pokemon Go has transformed mobile technology and driven its players to explore their respective communities in search of elusive Pokemon.
“When the game first came out hundreds of people came out to play,” said Jess Ross, the social media content strategist who planned Thursday's event at Colonial Williamsburg. “They’re here, so why not use this as an opportunity to teach about history?”
The event started with a cookout at Shield’s Tavern on East Duke of Gloucester Street. Participants were treated to colored drink specials that mirrored the individual teams the game's worldwide player base is divided among. For example, Team Instinct is yellow, Mystic is blue and Valor is red.
Pokemon enthusiasts were then separated into two groups and led through various areas of Colonial Williamsburg. Along the way, players visited the various Pokestops that occupy the Colonial grounds, such as the Capitol building and Chowning Street Tavern.
Each Pokestop provided a chance to restock on Pokeballs, potions and other gear necessary to becoming a Pokemon Master. The tours also led trainers to the four "gyms" that reside within Colonial Williamsburg, where players battled for supremacy to help their respective teams. Between battles and Pokestops, guests were offered history lessons.
“I was just trying to take advantage of something that gets people excited to be in a museum,” said tour guide and Colonial Williamsburg interpreter Emily Doherty. “In my mind, if Pokemon Go is that thing then great."