NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Extravaganja has been a controversial tradition in western Massachusetts for about 25 years.
“Today is extravaganja and we’re just trying to get lit and like cool it. Feel the vibe you know….hahaha.”
Extravaganja 2016, the 25th year of the event, had about 10,000 people feeling the vibes.
Madelyn Kanter of Boston told 22News, “This is the mecca this is where you’re free to wear your flowers and feel pretty and have cool vibes and have a good time.”
The pot fest mecca became so big that event organizers say it outgrew the town common in Amherst where it had been held annually. This year it was at the Three County Fair Grounds in Northampton.
For many of the participants I spoke with today that participated at the extravaganja event they had one thing on their mind. Snacks, snacks, and more snacks…and business was booming.
“Food you know, fun, you know it’s a nice place you know suns out,” said Fred Richardson of Springfield.
“Back in my younger days when I used to take part in the stuff I used to get the munchies so I figured hey I’m going to have 10,000 kids with the munchies I’m here. hahahaha…you know what I’m saying…”
Tray Hill of Springfield told 22News, “Fun to see what everybody got for sale and support local businesses and young entrepreneurs out here doing their thing.”
You may be wondering…How is this legal? 22News spoke with the event organizers, the UMass Amherst Cannabis Reform Coalition. “Having a giant act of civil disobedience. So we’re expressing our first amendment rights to stand up for what we like and what we believe in and we have an agreement with the town of Northampton and with the police and security that this is okay for this day,” said Niki Striar.”
Organizers said 10 police officers and about 20 security guards were keeping watch over the crowds along with state emergency management. Residents didn’t seem to mind as long as no one gets hurt.
“I don’t know I mean I think the state and the country are moving in a different direction so it’s an option that’s viable so I don’t see a problem with it,” said John Omastal of Florence.
Organizers foot the bill for the event and hope to raise more support for full marijuana legalization.