Hempfest is Seattle’s largest protest-ival. A protesting festival.
Hempfest is for everyone to enjoy. Cannabis events happen every week in Seattle, but most are limited to industry people. On August 17, 18, and 19 you can join thousands of other attendees at Seattle’s Myrtle Edwards and Centennial Park for the festivities. Hundreds of booths are lined up across the park. There is entertainment as well as inspiring, protest-style speeches about cannabis.
My first experience with Hempfest was going alone last year. It was exciting and new. I was super nervous. They check bags on the way in, and I thought they were going to turn me away because of the weed in my purse! A nice lady laughed at me and told me that they’re okay with weed. It was a big relief.
Enjoying conventions comes down to preparation. There’s time for aimless wandering, as long as everything else is on lock. Here are a few things to consider before going to Hempfest this year:
Public consumption is illegal under I-502, the same set of rules that allow us to have legal cannabis at other times. It is a class C felony and police will be on site.
It is legal to consume marijuana on private property where the owner allows it. No concerts, restaurants, sidewalks, or coffee shops just yet.
There are a few nearby stores that might be valuable to hit up if you are approaching this as a tourist experience. Have a Heart in Belltown has a very large selection. Herban Legends has a great little merch shop next to their pot shop. It’s great to be able to tour another part of the cannabis industry when you’re already saturated with information from Hempfest.
Consuming before Hempfest of your own accord is legal. Public transportation services this area a lot. I recommend Google Mapping a bus route or estimating how much a Lyft might cost (ILIJANA56715 for free credit). Impairment is anything less than 100%, treat yourself to a ride that requires no coordination.
What to Wear
The weather is going to be hot and cannabis affects your ability to march around a festival. There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for hours in the sun and the munchies.
“Everyone breaks out their HUF socks”
Drink water the day before. Bring water to the event. It will be a lot of walking. Make sure your clothes are appropriate for lots of walking, sitting on grass, and heat.
People dress up at this event. It’s a great spectacle. Make sure your costume pieces can last as long as you do at the festival. Big costume pieces might end up being worse than wearing a sweater in the heat. Wearing something green and leafy will make you feel less like a civilian at the fest. Everyone breaks out their HUF socks and industry tees for this. If you plan on taking pictures with your friends, try to plan ahead and wear something nice.
Booths are at Hempfest for two reasons: publicity or selling merchandise. There will be freebies (not cannabis) at many booths as well as all kinds of merch for sale. If you are a fan of cannabis or a particular producer or processor, it is one of the only times you can get something with their logo on it. Don’t feel bad about accepting the free gifts at the booths, they’re happy to get their brand out there to loyal stoners. Ideally you will have a Halloween candy bag’s worth of free swag by the end of your day at Hempfest.
“…they’re happy to get their brand out there to loyal stoners.”
Some booths sell glass pieces. Buying glass is a spiritual process that involves introspection and more marijuana. If you feel moved by a piece that you would like to induct into your kit, you should totally get it. However, if that piece is a nice heady bong instead of a glass blunt you will have trouble with transport. You might think to bring an eyeglasses case or pipe case to hold a spoon pipe safely. If you buy a large piece, you should plan on parking close or holding it like a delicate baby for the rest of the day. You might want to go home to drop them off and come back. It is a long event and glass pieces can be expensive.
There will be food trucks at the event. If you are into festival-style food and lines you can find many options. There are lots of people parked on the grass near the food trucks to smoke and eat. The event is in a park, so it’s all very open and casual. A picnic on the cool grass is amazing after walking around the festival. Think about bringing some food and water so you can take breaks.
I have a few recommendations if you want to go outside the festival for food.
Dick’s Drive In is only half a mile away. If you’re visiting Seattle for Hempfest this would be a good time to knock out another tourist necessity. Buying a bag of Dick’s is incredibly satisfying after an event like this.
If you’re at the south end of Myrtle Edwards Park, you are a 10 minute walk away from the Macrina Bakery in Belltown. If you can pull it together you can enjoy Seattle favorite pastries and espresso. Some of my favorite coffee times were when I was eating a pastry I had brought home from the bakery. Once a dog I was sitting ate one, it was $4. The pastry, not the dog. I had to buy a new one because it’s that important to experience the pastry.