Pokemon and history mix for weekend in York

Sean Philip Cotter
  • York County History Center will hold a Pokewalk Saturday.
  • Saturday is also Colonial York Day at the Colonial Complex.
  • Royal Square is hosting the first Summer Art Market Saturday and Sunday.

Are you trying to catch 'em all?

The historical sites of York City, that is.

If you don't get that reference, congratulations — you aren't a millennial. What it means is that the York County History Center this Saturday will host a "Pokewalk," which is a guided walking tour of the city that's geared toward players of the smartphone-app game "Pokemon Go."

Police cite 'Pokemon Go' players in York Twp.

This is one of several free events happening around the city this weekend.

The game used a bunch of the historical sites around York and other parts of the country for "Pokestops" in the augmented-reality game, so the latest offering from the Nintendo series actually already gives people in incentive to seek out cool places around town, said Dan Roe, the history center's vice president of interpretation.

Pokeman Go players gather at Cousler Park in Manchester Township, Thursday, July 14, 2016. About a dozen players flocked to a "lure" posted by James Steepe of Manchester, but players reported that in excess of 100 people have been at the park in recent days searching for Jigglypuffs. John A. Pavoncello photo

"They used a lot of information out there to tag a lot of these interesting buildings for communities," Roe said. "They're really encouraging folks to go out and explore their local community."

Re-enactors from Donegal Rifles will be part of Colonial York Day on Saturday.

The game, which involves a lot of walking around, uses players' locations as determined by their phones' GPS services. Catchable Pokemon pop up periodically on the players' phones, and players are supposed to swing by the Pokestops, which are usually at interesting places, including churches and local landmarks and Pokemon gyms. The Pokestops give players supplies in the game, while people use their Pokemon to battle for control over the gyms.

The newly renamed York County History Center is taking advantage of this, starting a walk at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Martin Library at 159 E. Market St. in York City. Participants in the free event will walk around Market and Philadelphia streets for about an hour, then they'll end up at a previously planned History Center event: Colonial York Day.

BLOG: I choose you, Pokémon Go!

That event will be held in the 100 block of West Market Street, by the city's Colonial Complex, featuring the Colonial Courthouse, Gen. Horatio Gates' home and the Golden Plough Tavern — at least a couple of which are Pokestops, Roe believes. Inspired by the 275th anniversary of York's founding, Colonial York Day will feature historical re-enactors portraying Revolutionary War soldiers, craftspeople from the time and the big guy himself, George Washington, Roe said.

"We haven't had a living-history festival in a few years," he said. "We wanted to hold something larger in the summer."

Dill's Tavern will give a lesson in distilling during Colonial York Day Saturday.

The old-timey craftsmen will talk about the trades of gunsmithing, distillery and tobacco rolling, according to a news release. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Also going on around the city that day is the unveiling of the Royal Square Garden at 110 S. Howard St. in the Royal Square area. The garden, which will be the subject of a 1:30 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony, will grow food for local organizations such as the York Rescue Mission, according to a news release.

All sorts of historical re-enactments will take place during Colonial York Day on Saturday.

The release states that various merchants and artists will be able to use the space, which will be unveiled as part of the Summer Art Market. The event will bring dozens of merchants and musical acts to the area and will run noon-8 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Saturday will bring the bands Quilt and Strand of Oaks to the neighborhood to perform, according to www.summerartmarket.org.

— Reach Sean Cotter atscotter@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.

Two-day Summer Art Market coming to York City