I've was able to avoid the change fee a few months ago when I had a business trip that had to be rescheduled. I didn't care about the change fee for my ticket, but I had also bought tickets for my wife and child to go.
I called CO reservations and they changed the ticket, I told them the reason for the change was my Dad was in the hospital (which he was, he was having bypass surgery), and I had to reschedule.
The lady cheerily changed my ticket. It took awhile for them to process it, but it happened.
I'm also elite on CO, so they might've changed it for that reason alone, she never said.
Since you're trying ot do this on a holiday weekend, I would say your chance is virtually nil.
One tip: Since you're dealing with CO, I've heard that the CO agents in the Tampa office are more 'willing' to help a customer out. The agent I got was from Tampa, maybe that was part of the reason also.
One more tip: If you decide to call, check out the available seat map for the flight you want to get on either on www.continental.com or www.itn.com (on itn choose the 'advanced' user after you create a login).
If the seat you want to get on has a number of open seats, they might be more willing to do the change without the fee.