Valley Pokémon fans turn out to battle, trade and dress up

McALLEN — Hundreds of Pokémon fanatics came out to play Sunday as kids and adults alike invaded the McAllen Convention Center for RGV Poke’ Fest 2017.

The festival, in its seventh year, gave many participants a chance to wear costumes of their favorite characters, known as cosplayers, and to have their photos taken with fans.

Kelsey Fleming, 21, of Rio Grande City, said that it was her third year attending the event and said that this year she wanted to do something big. She chose Mega Altaria from Pokémon Mega Evolution as her character.

“I wanted to be recognized as a cosplayer. I’ve always wanted to do it and this year I said why not?” Fleming said.

Fleming has always loved these types of events and also as a little girl she always liked to dress up.

“I’ve love being able to turn into somebody else just for a day and you get to meet these really cool people,” Fleming added.

Fleming also took her cousin Samantha Brown, 27, as Altaria and her friend Stephanie Montalvo, 20, was Swablu, both from Pokémon Mega Evolution as well.

“Kids will come up to us and take pictures and then they figure out that we’re the Evolutions,” Brown said.

McAllen resident Noah Montez, 10, attended the event with his mother Alma and his stepdad Alfonso. Montez was dressed up as Squirtle and said that he began watching Pokémon because of his step-brother and found the show very entertaining.

“He’s very funny, very tough and very strong because when he fights with Charmander, Squirtle can take him down,” Montez said. “I wanted to come to watch a Pokémon live battle.”

Kennedy LeFave of Edinburg was a vendor at this year’s event and is the creator and founder of “I’m a Ninja,” which was made for boys for empowerment along the lines of “Hello Kitty” for girls.

“It started a couple of years ago with a silly idea,” LeFave said about creating the slogan and design. “I want something simple, something funny, something basic and classy.”

LeFave also is an artist and draws, then colors superhero artwork on a poster size canvas and uses his slogan as his signature.

A veteran vendor, Omer Garcia, who is a art teacher with the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo school district and a comic book lover, started drawing anime and comic book characters when he was in middle school and has loved it ever since.

“A day to draw them and a day to color them, but I really like to draw traditional more than digital,” Garcia said about the process in creating his work.

Vendors sold a variety of items from handmade artwork, plush animals, cosplay items, jewelry and other favorites. The festival also had a trading card game area, live Pokémon battles, and a video game section that included the games of Pac-Man and Super Mario by Nintendo.