1. Color Festivals
Indian dance, drama, musical concerts, good food, exhibits, and gifts are what make Spanish Fork's Festival of Colors a popular attraction for people from all over the state of Utah.
Ha, just kidding.
Despite being a most excellent place to learn about and celebrate a Hindu culture that most college-aged Utahns know next-to-nothing about, the festival is popular for one reason, and that reason is throwing ground-up chalk on strangers while you jump around like a total moron.
...And then of course posting an album of colorful "selfies" on Facebook immediately after, accompanied by about 1,000 hashtags so everyone will know how extraverted you are, and how you like to go out and do things.
Spanish Fork's color festival occurs sometime mid-August, right before the start of fall semester at several major Utah universities. School starts, students meet new friends, everyone tracks everyone else down on Facebook, and boom — the color festival trend is spread year after year by people who will "totally be doing that next year!"
2. Color Runs/The "Tough Mudder"/Other Obstacle Course Events
These events exist for attention-whores. We here at Mind Grenades actually know some real-life hardcore runners, and we're pretty sure they'd never go near any of these events. There are plenty of races out there to challenge actual athletes looking to accomplish an impressive feat, like the Ironman triathlon, which consists of 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a full freaking 26.2-mile marathon run, raced in that order and without a break. You don't see a lot of selflies on Facebook following an Ironman Triathlon, because
1. It's rare to even know someone who's actually done it- thus the appeal of completing the event.
2. After completing an Ironman, most people look like this:
People know it's impressive to run a marathon or an Ironman, but that actually takes training and stuff, so events like the "Tough Mudder" and other races that use obstacles as gimmicks to draw crowds try to mimic the sense of accomplishment earned by the Ironman finisher without forcing their participants into near-cardiac arrest. The result is a bunch of big-headed college kids who believe what the Tough Mudder website is selling:
"Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile (18-20 km) obstacle course designed to test all-around strength, stamina, teamwork, and mental grit. Tough Mudder is Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet. Probably."
Of course, the Tough Mudder people are supposed to say ridiculous things like that — the marketability of their event depends on people talking about how "hardcore" it is. Take about 60 seconds to explore that website. You'll notice you start reading everything in that voice that directs those Ford F150 commercials, because each word of self-promoting garbage oozes of "This event will put hair on your chest and make you a man/make you a strong independent woman who don't need no man!"
Here's the deal: real "hardcore" events are trained for and earned, and thus respected for being something the majority of people will never accomplish. Running a 10k through some mud and taking pictures afterward like you just survived freaking judgement day isn't hardcore, it's just an excuse to post pictures to Facebook without makeup.
Not all "non-traditional" races are necessarily bad, but they all know you'll pay $50 for a T-shirt and a three-mile run because you're going to selfie the crap out of their event and keep their numbers of participants skyrocketing.
You train for and complete a marathon to prove something to yourself; these expensive gimmicky runs exist to add some spice to your desired social media persona.
3. Graffiti, Cliff-Jumping, and Other Illegal Summer Activities
As noted here, some activities your Facebook friends have been getting into this summer are probably less-than-legal, but make pretty great profile pictures. Or classy wedding photos. Because Utah.
There was originally more to this section of this post, but it's kind of depressing to talk about newly-married people dying from botched base-jump attempts at Zion's National Park, so just trust us on this — no matter how awesome your buddy's cliff-diving picture is, know that he's lucky the universe didn't decide to snap his neck. Don't do anything illegal this summer, even if you think it will get you more "likes", and don't suffer from profile picture envy. Live your life.