For many CSU students, including Harrison Neal, Wednesday was spent searching for snack items.
â€œI came here to get some awesome munchies, man,â€ said the sober sophomore experiencing his first-ever local 4/20 festival at the sandwich chain, Cheba Hut. Neal was a freshman last year at the University of Northern Colorado but had driven through Fort Collins on 4/20. Afterwards, â€œI said, â€˜Iâ€™ve got to come back here.â€™â€
Cheba Hut shut down the corner of College and Laurel Avenue for the fifth year in a row on Wednesday in honor of 4/20 Day â€” a time dedicated to informally celebrating cannabis culture.
Boulder and San Francisco are known to host the biggest 4/20 celebrations, but small-scale versions of similar events are typical in college towns all over the country.
And Fort Collins is no exception.
Some 1,200 CSU students and Fort Collins residents made their way to the Cheba Hut celebration from 1 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, enjoying discounted sandwiches, chips and drinks, along with free live music featuring the local band Gypsy Fit.
Vendors and lighthearted contests complemented the cannabis-friendly environment, one where officers drew a blind eye to those smoking weed.
â€œWeâ€™re selling 4-inch sandwiches with chips and a drink on a Frisbee for $4.20,â€ said Boone Cates, Cheba Hutâ€™s district manager. â€œThe line will go out the door until we close at midnight, but it moves fast because we have all-hands-on-deck for this one.â€
In preparation for the event, Cates even called in past employees of Cheba Hut, and spent six hours putting together the dayâ€™s work shift schedule. Each member of his team pulled a 12-hour day.
â€œThe event is not financially worth it,â€ he said. â€œBut it is good promotion.â€
When not eating sandwiches, individuals took part in ranch chugging, kool-aid tankard-dunking and a entered for a chance to win a trip for two to Jamaica, where winners received an $1,800 travel voucher to the island.
Cheba Hut obtained a permit from Fort Collins city government officials to organize the shut down. Cates had to first hire off-duty police officers, get neighboring businesses to agree to the event and hire a company out of Windsor to divert oncoming traffic.
Scott Schowe, a CSU senior who has attended Cheba Hutâ€™s 4/20 celebration since he began his university career, said while he was looking forward to the eveningâ€™s $2 beer special, what really kept him at the event was something messier.
â€œThey had ranch dressing wrestling last year,â€ he said. â€œThat I may or may not compete in.â€
Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.