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Why a Tiny Town Was Transformed for the Weekend Into 'Whatever, USA,' Complete With Blue Streets, Sand Volleyball Court, Multistory Cowboy Boot Statue and a Rave


"I know a lot of people were upset."

Image source: KUSA-TV

Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. (AP) — More than 1,000 people flown in to the small Colorado resort town of Crested Butte for the filming of Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light commercial were having problems leaving the party Sunday evening.

Image source: KUSA-TV Image source: KUSA-TV

The beer giant paid $500,000 to paint several blocks of a central street blue and otherwise temporarily revamp the town into fictional Whatever, USA, for its "Up for Whatever" campaign. The company said the travel delays stemmed from a large number of people trying to depart the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport after the two-day event.

Image source: KUSA-TV Image source: KUSA-TV

"With more than 1,200 consumers attending Whatever, USA, from all points across the country, it takes time to get through a smaller airport," Nick Kelly, a Bud Light spokesman, said in a statement. "We have a process in place to have all of our guests make the return trip home as safely and smoothly as possible."

Kelly said the company would pay for accommodations for those miss connecting flights because of delays.

A private security company fell behind on screening requirements for travelers leaving on chartered planes, Transportation Security Administration spokesman Ross Feinstein told The Denver Post.

Some visitors complained about the delay on social media.

"I don't know exactly what happened," McKenna Reagan, from St. Paul Minn., told the newspaper. "I know a lot of people were upset."

An after-hours message left with airport administrators by The Associated Press was not immediately returned.

Before the delays, some residents of the town didn't take too kindly to the secretive event arranged between Anheuser-Busch and town leaders — but others embraced it.

Image source: KUSA-TV Image source: KUSA-TV

Crested Butte, population 1,500, is more of a craft beer town, home to art galleries, artists and second-home owners. There are no fast food restaurants or chain stores.

For the weekend event, workers installed a sand volleyball court, a multistory cowboy boot statue, a gorilla and a director's chair that comfortably seats six people.

Image source: KUSA-TV Image source: KUSA-TV

The Crested Butte Marshal's Office said Anheuser-Busch had done a good job of keeping the peace, KUSA-TV in Denver reported Saturday.

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