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Pub Crawl brings in downtown crowd (video)

Camille Doty

By Camille Doty
Aug. 25, 2012 at 3:25 a.m.
Updated Aug. 26, 2012 at 3:26 a.m.

Megan Homerstad, right, and Katie Killebrew, second from left pose like rock stars with their friends in the Pub Crawl challenge at the Golden Gecko.  Close to 300 people registered for the event to visit various bars and businesses in downtown Victoria.

Click here for the winners.

The brightness of the sun chased the rain clouds away.

Weather gods smiled down on Victoria as droves of people filled the downtown streets.

The blonde highlights in Katie Killebrew's hair moved to the soft wind as she strolled down Main Street.

The 27-year-old Victoria native was dressed in her Saturday's best with a two-toned blouse, jeans and leopard print flats.

She wanted to be comfortable as she embarked on an adventure of her hometown's first pub crawl.

"People complain there's nothing to do here," she said. "I'm glad people are out having a good time."

Her friend and teammate Megan Homerstad, 31, rolled the technological dice in the cutting edge challenge.

"This sounded like so much fun. It's something new, different," said Homerstad.

Killebrew was one of 305 people registered to participate in the inaugural festival promoted by the Victoria Main Street Program.

The premise of the crawl was to bring people to the city to learn about the venues downtown while participating in a smartphone challenge with the SCVNGR app.

Participants needed a smartphone to be able to check into places and send in photos. The challenge was not timed, but based on accuracy. Winners received a prize.

Those up to the challenge went bar hopping to the downtown establishments: 77901 Wine Bar, The Golden Gecko, Downtown Bar & Grill, Greek's 205, Simply Delicious, and Steve-a-reno's.

Each one offered a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for purchase.

Other businesses such as Split-Enz, Huvar's, and Beijing Garden offered complimentary appetizers and champagne just for the event.

To ensure everyone's safety Affordable Taxi offered discounts to those who were unable to drive home.

"I've been blown away by the response and just hope everyone has fun," said Sara Rodriguez, the program's interim director.

Registration was cut off because the organizers said it reached capacity.

As the evening progressed, teams became more adventurous and created their own challenges. Maybe it was the liquid courage.

Some benefitted musicians playing in the streets with financial contributions.

The more shrewd competitors created challenges for their own edification - by encouraging others to buy them a drink.

People slapped hi-fives, did chicken dances and drank shots for the chance to be crowned the crawl champion.

Abel Sanchez Jr. posed by the grand piano wearing his sunglasses, channeling his inner Ray Charles. His friend Sean Garcia immortalized the moment with a photo.

Garcia said he could only enjoy part of the fun.

"I have a BlackBerry. I'm at the mercy of my friend," said the bank manager about his friend with an iPhone.

Although the game ran smoothly, there were a few glitches with lost Internet connections, dying phones, and less-than-clear rules.

To Killebrew, those small imperfections paled in comparison to the memories she made.

The speech pathologist said her favorite challenge was getting a marker moustache on her finger with her crew.

"It's a symbol of our friendship," she said.

Killebrew was just shy of making the cut to be included in the final prize drawing. She was ranked 27th and needed to be in the top 25.

"It's OK. I did 75 challenges," she said. "The person who won probably did 150."

Homerstad said the fun-filled day took her back to her childhood.

"This has been the coolest thing in Victoria since the two-story carousel in mall."



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