The Seattle Hempfest provides a remarkable example of volunteerism at its absolute best. It costs over $70,000 to produce, has a staff of almost 200 people, has its own website, and publishes a free program that is full of useful information. Speakers come from all over the country, and bands from Seattle’s vibrant music scene contribute their services.
The venue for the September 2 event was the Myrtle Edwards Park on the waterfront in downtown Seattle. The park stretches for some distance, so vendors lined the walkways. There were three stages for various size areas where several hundred people could sit on the ground and listen to the bands and the speakers. The area in front of the “Main Stage” held over a thousand people. The sound systems were excellent.
August is the least wet month in Seattle, and the weather cooperated beautifully, drawing huge crowds. The police also cooperated. There was a large police presence, but they were mostly smiling, and behaved very professionally. Perhaps they were stung by the criticism of their behavior during the WTO demonstrations. Although there was quite a lot of pot smoking, I don’t think anyone got arrested.
The total crowd was estimated to have exceeded last year’s estimated 90,000! This event is a very big deal, and a genuine triumph of volunteerism. I salute them.
? Seattle Hempfest: PO Box 27496, Seattle, WA 98125-2496; www.seattlehempfest.com