Over 10,000 people from the local community and neighboring states attended the 26th annual Extravaganja festival in the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton on Saturday.
This is the second year the event has been held in Northampton due to Extravaganja’s growing popularity. The event is organized each year by the University of Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition to celebrate and rally for cannabis legalization.
The event featured local musicians such as Llama Lasagne, Dead Collective and Humble Digs. Speakers on the main stage included John Dvorak, Dick Evans and other speakers.
There was also a small entertainment section which featured the UMass Juggling Troupe, the Liberated Waffles, the UMass Bellydance Club and magician Jeff Kempton.
While performances were held from noon until about 5:15 p.m., there were also plenty of vendors surrounding the area selling cannabis paraphernalia, artwork, jewelry, tapestries and soaps.
Additionally, there was a variety of different food vendors. Alongside the traditional food trucks and fair cuisine there were booths promoting CBD, or cannabidiol-infused products.
While there were many more stalls than at previous events, business wasn’t necessarily better for everyone. Herbal Glass vendor Herb Crehan said that he has gone to many marijuana events in Amherst and Boston over the years, but has found that this year’s sales were much lower.
“It’s usually the small pieces that generate the base [revenue], and then there’s some people or two who buy the bigger pieces, but this time there just didn’t seem to be a lot of buyers,” Crehan said.
The increasing popularity of the event has been a doubled edged sword for the organizers. The scale of the event now requires stricter safety regulations than in the past.
At the gates, security checked for weapons, alcohol and other drugs but allowed for cannabis products and paraphernalia. In contrast to last year, security also checked IDs as only those that were 18 and older were allowed to enter.
According to chief of staff for Northampton Mayor Lyn N. Simmon’s statement to Masslive, the Northampton Health Department imposed the age restriction because of its “public health concerns about significant exposure to second hand smoke by children and minors. The Ward 3 City Councilor also expressed concerns to the Mayor about minors attending the event.”
“We encourage people who are upset [with the age limit] to reach out to the Northampton and tell them why they’re upset about it and urge them not to have an age limit next year,” CRC member Claire Walsh, who studies biochemistry and molecular biology, said.
Springfield resident Derry Gibbs Jr. enjoyed the event.
“I really liked the vibe and the people and how mixed it was. I wasn’t expecting that,” Gibbs Jr. said.
Christina Yacono can be reached at [email protected]