Tissa Peterson and her two sisters-in-law enjoyed drinks and gossip as three of their grandchildren were suspended in the air 15 feet above them Aug. 11. The kids were taking part in the “Gravity Ropes” obstacle course above the arcade of Pharr’s new entertainment center, Main Event.
Located about 15 minutes from UTPA on North Jackson Road near Expressway 83, Main Event opened to the public August 6. The two-story complex includes 26 bowling lanes, a laser tag arena, and a full cocktail bar and restaurant, as well as private meeting rooms and 100 arcade games.
Peterson, a retired schoolteacher from the Rio Grande City Consolidated Independent School District, was pleased with how engaging Main Event is for attendees.
“The kids are having a blast and it’s great that there’s something like this for families,” the education graduate from Texas A&M-Kingsville, said over the noise of the crowd. “There’s a lot going on in this place and we’re actually considering eventually having a girls’ night out here without the kids.”
The Dallas-based company has 18 locations across the country, 14 in Texas, according to the official website for Main Event. Upcoming locations include Warrenville, Ill., and a third location in San Antonio that will open later this summer.
Rob Neagle, the general manager at the Pharr location, described the entertainment complex as “58,000 square feet of fun” with a variety of activities for everyone. He also mentioned that the center is the first of its kind in the area.
“The Valley’s never seen anything like it before,” the 44-year-old Mission native said. “It’s one area that caters to so many people that it could have an impact in how rapidly businesses in the Valley are growing.”
Among the people that have visited Main Event is senior James Kohn. He said that although his visit with friends was fun, he felt that he didn’t receive his money’s worth. They had purchased a bracelet for unlimited bowling, laser tag, and the gravity obstacle course, for $20.
“Since there were long wait times of up to four hours for each of them, we could only do one of each,” the 22-year-old philosophy and history major explained. “The bowling session was only 30 minutes long, so we ended up spending more time waiting in line than actually bowling.”
Kohn said that if he goes again, he won’t purchase an unlimited pass. His sister, Maggie Kohn, also disliked the long lines they endured during their visit. However, the UTPA student does see potential in Main Event.
“It’s cool to have because there isn’t another place here where one can go bowling, laser tagging and eat in one place,” the Edinburg native said. “I think the lines may have been so long because it’s the first of its kind in the Valley and they might die down later on.”
Main Event, along with the Cinemark Pharr Town Center Theater next to it, were built when Pharr’s El Centro Mall was demolished last year.
For Neagle, the original site holds “sentimental” value to him. As a teenager, he spent his Saturdays at the mall’s arcade playing Pac-Man. He said he held the high score on that game for several years and sees the Pac-Man game at Main Event as an opportunity to beat his own high score when he can find the time.
“It’s been so busy these last few days that the best I can do is walk past [the game] and imagine how cool it’ll be to play it,” he said with a laugh. “I can’t play while I’m working, but soon I’ll get my hands on it.”
Main Event is open Monday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. till 2 a.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 9 a.m. till midnight.