Little Details

A Fact-Checking Community for Writers

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
What would bring drunk college students from all over to Colorado?
tamtrible wrote in little_details
Time: modern day
place: Colorado, and if necessary neighboring states
Search terms: I had no idea how to search this, it's kind of a local-knowledge thing.

This is for the zombie story I've asked about before.

My zombies want to spread the infection (don't worry, it's harmless to the living). It's fluid-transmitted, meaning bites, sex, kissing, blood transfusions, and the like (though not, to a meaningful extent, things like sneezing or germy doorknobs). They figure an ideal vector group would be college students who have come to the area to party (for spring break or whatever), then will go back to their respective schools, presumably kissing and/or having sex with a lot of people along the way.

The problem is, my zombies will start out somewhere in the mountains of Colorado. And I don't think Colorado is a big spring-break destination or the like, though I, having never lived there, could be wrong.

So, is there any period of time, somewhere in or very near Colorado, where drunk college students (or some very similar group) congregate, party for a while, then disperse? If so, when and where?

I'd say Red Rocks Amphitheater is a possibility - it is near Denver and they host big concerts.

Yeah, my first thought was some sort of major concert or music festival.

A concert wouldn't work, a music festival might.

I'm aiming more for some flavor of "people come from around the country, hang out for a few days/weeks, then go home", not just "people come from a few neighboring cities, hang out for an evening, then leave"

This is either a dumb comment or obviously brilliant. I'm not sure.

But couldn't you set it the same week when the pot legalization went through?

I hear they attracted some young tourists right away, and that particular setting could make a brilliant yarn. ;)

Hahahaha, I like that!

My immediate thought was Burning Man, but that's Nevada.

There's the Denver Comic Con, or some other geeky convention.

Burning Man would probably be a little far to go, depending on where in Nevada it is. But it would draw the right sort of crowd.

Comic Con? Probably not *quite* as much. Geeks tend not to be quite so much with the drunken revelry and kissing random strangers. Some do, of course, but it's not what Everyone is Doing.

How about Rainbow Gathering? Sorta like Burning Man without the entry fee. They've held at least one in Colorado (the first one, I think). It's in a different spot every year, and there are smaller gatherings also. http://www.welcomehome.org/rainbow/

There's also Apogaea, Colorado's regional version of Burning Man.

Several options will help me. My zombies need to spread spores before the CDC can quarantine everyone who's infected...

The story will, in essence, be set in the Unspecified Near Future. I'd prefer something that either is annual, or could happen any year. Though legal pot may... increase the pool of young people willing to kiss random strangers.

What about 4/20 then? Especially since pipes or bongs being passed around would help with the spread of the virus.

Fungus, actually, and to make it not too easy on my protagonist (the zombie hive mind), it pretty much needs to be direct fluid-to-fluid contact. But from my (roughly third-hand) impression... I suspect most stoned people would not be particularly disturbed by a stranger kissing them, at least a reasonably attractive stranger of the appropriate gender.

If you set the story in the near future, why don't you make up your own event? For example a three-day music festival that takes place for the very first time, with the right promotion and bands, might draw a lot of people. Or it could take place for the second time with the number of visitors doubled because people who attended the first time spread the word.
If you'd choose that road, I'd suggest a heavy metal festival - that way you'd get lots of people from every age group (unlike the sort of limited age range at college parties, I guess), who are willing to be out and about during pretty much any weather, who party hard and do crazy stuff. A common sight, which might help your cause are people, especially girls, carrying paper signs that read 'Kiss for Beer' (or variations thereof). Also, as far as I know, the biggest outright metal festivals that take place during the same time every year (like first weekend of a certain month), at the same location, happen in Europe, so Americans from all across the country might be drawn to attend one that regularly takes place in Colorado. You could even get some international guests.

Definitely a possibility.

Also, if the state was lucky enough to have a good snow, skiers and snowboarders descend in droves (lived in CO and worked at a hotel for a number of years...skiers weren't unheard of in March/April)

A good snow may be my best bet.

If you're going for snow, try the winter holidays. Thanksgiving through the New Year can be nuts at the resorts, but perhaps not as likely to have a high proportion of college students on their own. For spring break, though: http://studenttravel.about.com/od/springbrea1/tp/spring_br_ski.htm

It... doesn't *necessarily* have to be college students per se, they're just... disproportionately likely to kiss strangers, I suspect.

Living in Colorado I can tell you that Vail and Aspen in particular are NUTS during Spring Break. Breckenridge is also up-and-coming (and might be less frou-frou than Vail or Aspen.) Doesn't even have to be Spring Break--people apparently just go in between; a friend recently did Breckenridge with a bunch of her schoolmates (they're all from the East Coast) over a weekend.

Edited at 2014-02-18 08:05 am (UTC)

Ski resorts during spring break, check.

Ditto. OK, I'm in the UK, but university skiing clubs are notorious for hard partying.

Yeah - when you said "college students" and "colorado", the very next word to pop into my head was "skiing". I've never been myself, but if I were to judge from the number of people who talked about going skiing in colorado for spring break, I'd expect it to be swamped.

I honestly wasn't sure whether the ski season extended to whenever Spring Break usually is. Sounds like it does...

Last year the closing day of one of the ski areas here was June 9...though I think the crowds are probably over by then. Then there's summer tourism, hiking and such as well.

See, I'm used to Arizona. It's already warm enough that I don't need a jacket during the day most of the time, and it's only February. I'm not used to places with actual, proper winter...

The mountains themselves are pretty different than the Denver area, just due to altitude. Some winters are a bit weird, but we have many days of sunshine so it'll snow and then all melt quite often. The higher you go the longer it sticks around, of course. I went rafting once in the second week of June in the mountains and it was snowing very lightly at 10,000 feet as we got to where we were starting from, but just raining the rest of the time as we came back down a bit.
I do hate snow though, so I think I'd like Arizona in the winter, heh. (But probably not the summer, admittedly!)

Depends on where you want it to start happening. Denver has an annual 4/20 festival for pot smokers that has grown exponentially in size since the medical cannabis laws got passed and will likely explode now that the recreational use was legalized. I'm pretty sure it'll become the next Amsterdam, but instead of having to fly out to Europe most college kids could fly/drive out on a much more reasonable budget. I don't personally partake, but friends that do say those festivals are huge. Likely your best bet for that sort of thing.

There are also large-ish events such as pride parades and pagan festivals, though those are likely more localized. There are also a few good sci-fi/anime/other conventions that are held throughout the year. Might not be the best place to mention this but I attend a furry convention in Denver every year that sees attendees from throughout the nation and sometimes internationally.

Is there a big 4/20 thing in Denver? It was always in Boulder, I thought, and last year CU finally decided to try to shut it down.

Pot is only semi-legal in Colorado, after all...

But 4/20 was my first thought for something that brings people from all over the country, or at least that used to.

So, masses of *stoned* people from all over the country. Probably even better than masses of drunk people

there's always events like Testicle Festivals - drunk rednecks making out after nomming down on testes ;)

that might be one target, as well.

What about just starting it at one of Colorado's own universities? From there, at spring break, a good number of students will flock away to their own homes or vacation spots, spreading your zombie germ--and you could have some event like a popular concert happen the week before break, which could be another contagion hotspot.

I was thinking something like this as well. Have the contagion/outbreak right before a holiday and let students disperse themselves.

Well, to some extent that may fortuitously occur, but basically... the zombies have a hive mind if there's enough of them, and the group trying to spread the contagion are the first zombie hive, which is hiding out somewhere in the mountains. They're trying to identify large groups that will disperse the fungus for them, that engage in lots of fluid-to-fluid contact with others.

Skiers are an almost ideal group, since skiing tends to happen in at least slightly remote areas, where a large mass of dead-looking people can hide somewhere within a mile of where their few presentable members are, ah, exchanging fluids (likely mostly kissing, you can get more targets that way...)

Too bad your story's not set in the not so distant past instead of the present, otherwise this would fill your bill nicely. I was in Fort Collins for College Daze in 1979, and it was a zoo.

The first thing that came to mind was the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008. Not exactly what you were looking for, but it was an amusing image.

4/20 rally CU boulder. Though I think it may have been banned recently despite legalization of pot.

There have been music festivals in the mountains (see: Snowball in Avon and Winter Park, 2011-2012) that were several-day events with lots of impaired people. Spring break is a bigger skiing event than you might expect, too. Most of the mountains have an end-of-season party as well, and Arapahoe Basin's comes to mind. Think skiing in your swimsuit, grilling in the parking lot, pond skimming, etc.