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“I want my mommy”
The Black Diamond City Council is looking into some pretty scary stuff.
Organizers of the Great Horror Campout, which describes itself as a “choose your own adventure” overnight, interactive camping experience, have applied for a special event permit in the city. Their goal: to bring terror to a horde of fear-loving young professionals.
The 12-hour campout runs from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. and targets 18-34 year olds — a majority of who are male — that are looking for a freaky adrenaline rush in the comic/fantasy/sci-fi/horror vein. That means cages, kidnappers, voodoo rituals, “blood tag,” horror movies on a large outdoor screen, bonfire sing-a-longs and the “Hell Hunt” interactive challenge, where the winning “Hellmaster” receives a sash, patch and future camping perks. There’s a “chicken zone” for a more mild experience and participants are also told to shout the safe phrase “I want my mommy” to stop the nightmare if they’re too scared.
Ten Thirty One Productions, based out of Los Angeles, created the event in 2013 and has a tour planned for major cities in California and Texas this summer.
The campout would be held on about 15 of Palmer Coking Coal’s 600-acre property, located at 31407 3rd Ave. The site has been used for Tough Mudder obstacle course runs in the past, which have drawn upwards of 10,000 participants.
This event would run on two nights, July 25-26, and is estimated to draw 1,000 people to each. No alcohol or drugs are allowed at the event and participants must be at least 18 years old.
Melissa Carbone, CEO and president of Ten Thirty One Productions, called the Black Diamond spot one of her favorites on the tour.
“It’s exactly what we are going for,” she said. “It’s very campy… It’s close enough to a major metropolitan area to pull enough people, but it feels very isolated.”
Carbone brought the company to the national stage when she pitched it on the popular reality TV show “Shark Tank.” She caught the attention of billionaire and Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban, who invested $2 million, a record for the show.
“And it’s all gone,” Carbone said. “This was an expensive expansion.”
Carbone said Cuban is heavily involved in the company and called him “a great business partner.” She said she didn’t expect to actually receive an investment.
“I was shocked,” she said. “I knew it was a long shot because of the money I as asking for.”
The campout tours with a core group, which includes a security team of about 20 people. Carbone said the business hires actors and event staff, as well as local vendors for things such as waste management and catering.
The Black Diamond City Council considered passing a resolution for the event at its council meeting on April 3 and addressed noise, safety and traffic concerns. The council is expected to take final action on the event at the April 17 meeting.
Black Diamond Police Chief Jamey Kiblinger said she would want 10 officers working the event if there are 1,000 attendees. Carbone said she only expected to contract out work to one or two officers, who would supplement the existing security team.
Carbone said there would be fence barricades and natural boundaries keeping the event isolated and safe.
Black Diamond Councilwoman Janie Edelman said she was initially skeptical about the idea, but has seen positive reviews for the event online.
“I certainly wouldn’t do it,” she said. “My first reaction was why would we want to do this? But I’m not 20 years old, nor am I a male.”
Edelman added that the event is on private property, won’t cost the city any money and could be a small revenue source.
“Palmer Coking Coal has the right to pretty much do whatever they want, so long as the public is not going to be infringed upon too much,” she said.
Edelman said her concern was health and welfare of the Black Diamond citizens.
“As long as public safety issues are addressed to the satisfaction of the police chief and the fire chief, then I don’t have a problem,” she said.
Carbone said she hopes this will be the start of many scares in the city.
“The idea is to establish an annual footprint,” Carbone said. “Hopefully we will be coming back to Black Diamond for many years.”