University of Denver's DebateFest is set up and sold out

7,500-person debate watch party ready to rock

DENVER - An interactive presidential debate watch party is set up in the middle of the University of Denver campus.

DebateFest is a public event -- though already sold out -- with political guests, local music groups and two giant screens to watch the debate.

Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock are among the guest speakers. 7NEWS anchor Dayle Cedars will MC the event when it kicks off at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The event sold out with about 7,500 tickets distributed to DU students, staff, alumni and nearby residents.

Only a fraction of DU students won a lottery to get inside the actual debate.

"It would be nice if we had the privilege, of being students, being a part of it without having to go through hoops," said DU freshman Scot Johnson.

Johnson was not selected to watch the debate and missed the registration for tickets to DebateFest.

"Registration was open for almost 30 days for DebateFest, so there was ample opportunity to get registered," said Winter Wall Walker, DU's presidential debate project coordinator.

"We started with the students, faculty and staff and then we opened it up to the alumni and surrounding neighborhood, and we had such an overwhelming response that we capped it at that. We are at capacity," Walker said.

"I can understand why they limited it, though, just because we don't have a whole lot of space here," said DU freshman Leighanne Jenkins. "I definitely think there should have been some sort of access for all students."

Jenkins has a ticket to DebateFest.

"This is the fun place to watch the debate," said Walker.

Unlike inside the debate hall, those attending DebateFest will be able to cheer and jeer during the debate itself.

Right next to the Driscoll Student Center, 50 tents are set up in what's called, "Issues Alley" for political groups to hand out paraphernalia.

According to Walker, the groups are limited to the domestic issues being discussed during the debate. She said Planned Parenthood and groups dealing with alternative energy are among those hosting a booth.