Visit Denver, the city's convention and visitors' bureau, has a new mobile app designed to lure vacationers to Mile High hotspots through a series of "dares." Complete a "Denver Dare" and you'll earn a Facebook badge.
So what are these terrifying tasks, these death-defying deeds? Here's a hint: One of them involves the Celestial Seasonings peppermint room, and it doesn't have anything to do with shoving as much mint as you can down your pants while the tour guide's back is turned.
Visit Denver spent $17.5 million last year preaching the good word about Denver. Its newest campaign, "Truth or Dare," was developed by local ad firm Karsh Hagan and is being rolled out just in time for summer. Justin Bresler, Visit Denver's vice president of marketing, says it's meant to dispel "perceptions of the city that aren't current or accurate" — such as that Denver is a snowy cow town — by daring visitors to discover all the classy, exciting stuff the city has to offer.
The app is available for iPhone and Android and includes maps, photos and listings of events and attractions.
But as far as dares go, these are pretty tame. (Example: Check out a Denver B-cycle and ride through Denver's neighborhoods!) So to help spice up the summer, we're offering slight modifications (in italics) to five of the 139 "Denver Dares." Check them out below. Unless you're too chicken.
Denver Dare #4: Swim with the sharks at the Downtown Aquarium. Afterward, order one in the adjoining seafood restaurant. As in, specifically order a specific shark.
Denver Dare #88: Root for the home team at Coors Field from the Rockpile. Better yet, root for a team that's not even playing. Be really enthusiastic about it.
Denver Dare #40: Commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic at the Molly Brown House Museum. With a straight face, tell the staff that you've been a huge Molly Brown fan since she played the psycho nurse in the movie adaptation of Stephen King's Misery. Ask if they have any props from her role on The Office.
Denver Dare #18: See how candy is made at Hammond's Candies. Pretend that you're going to steal the recipes and sell them to Slugworth unless they take you to the chocolate river.
Denver Dare #61: Visit the fascinating Clyfford Still Museum. Wear a name tag that says, "Hi, my name is Carmen Tisch." It'll be terrifying — trust us.
O Tannenbaum: Colorado's White River National Forest will provide a sacrificial tree this year for the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., where it will stand on the west lawn. An honor, indeed. But Colorado residents can get into the act in other ways, as well.
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For instance, an organization called Sing 4 the Tree is launching a national songwriting contest on June 15 that honors the tree but also brings awareness about the state's pine-beetle epidemic. The winner gets $5,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington to perform the tree-lighting ceremony on December 4.
And then there's an ornament contest sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, which is seeking 5,000 handmade ornaments to adorn the tree. Entries "should portray the many ways that Coloradans celebrate the outdoors."
We're coming up with our own, alternative list (and not all of them involve miniature ski racks and glass bongs) of ways that Coloradans enjoy the state. If you've got a suggestion, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.