Festival Weaves an Homage To Hemp

Festival Weaves an Homage To Hemp
Posted by FoM on July 21, 2001 at 16:14:23 PT
By Jaime Lyn Rea, The Register-Guard
Source: Register-Guard
Hemp burger, hemp bracelet, hemp hat, hemp this and hemp that. If hemp is your thing, then the World Hemp Festival is your place. The annual celebration in honor of the multipurpose plant began its annual run Friday in a once-empty hay field east of Harrisburg.As people arrived, they visited booths touting legalizing marijuana, fingered hemp-based clothing and sampled a wide selection of food made from hemp. They found dancing music, new friends and a slow-paced event that gives time for a little rest. 
Allen Outland of Glenwood laid under an open tent, while he listened to the music coming from the stage. He has attended the festival since the 1980s and said he enjoys the fair's offerings."There's a family atmosphere here," he said. "It's keeping us all young."The festival, which attracts thousands of people each year, continues today and Sunday on property owned by Bill Conde, a marijuana activist and local businessman.Conde and his supporters will pass clipboards around today in hopes of collecting the signatures of 1,000 registered voters to launch his attempt to make a bid for the governorship in 2002.His political intentions, however, weren't evident at the festival Friday. The focus - as usual - is on hemp.Hemp is the staple in diets this weekend as vendors praise its use in items from burgers to noodles to cookies to milkshakes.Eugene resident Sharon Place of the Loving Spoonful food stand touted the benefits of the hemp nut, with which she has supplemented her diet for two years.The nut looks like birdseed and contains essential fatty acids, a substance that helps people make the right choices and moral decisions, she said."It's made an incredible difference in how I feel," she said.Christopher Hofer of Santa Cruz, Calif., who is spending his summer attending festivals like the one this weekend, said hemp has a "quiet taste." He said not everything made of hemp tastes good but that the plant is nutritious."I think it should be more of something that's in everyone's household," he said. "It's close to the perfect food."Hofer swung in a hammocklike chair made with hemp fabric as he talked about how hemp is "the plant that's going to rule the world.""Hemp is the wonder plant," he said. "It has thousands and thousands of uses."Those uses include building products, fabric and fuel, he said. However, he said hemp has become confused with marijuana and is looked down upon by many people. Legalized growing of hemp is essential, he said.Petitioners set up tents and roamed the fairgrounds to gather signatures to legalize private marijuana use by adults, and others encouraged people to register to vote in Oregon.Conde established a no-tolerance policy this year for drug and alcohol use on the property in response to past allegations by the Linn County sheriff's department that drug use and sales took place at the festivals.The police presence was minimal, although obvious, Friday afternoon. Two deputies from the sheriff's department monitored activity, while hired security officers searched bags and used metal detectors to search for weapons as people entered the festival grounds.Bunny Tromler of Takilma, a first-time fair attendee and worker, said she would like to squash negative notions people have about the festival being a drug-centered event."I think that preconception is wrong," she said. "They're the people who talk a lot and get freaked out and don't come see for themselves."Paul Noel of San Francisco said he wanted to bring his food booth to the festival for the first time in support of hemp and so that his sons, ages 9 and 15, could experience another way of living."We'd heard about some interesting things - a police raid two years ago and that they cleaned that up," he said. "We wanted to come here and support hemp and these boys needed to see an alternative lifestyle."Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)Author: Jaime Lyn Rea, The Register-GuardPublished: July 21, 2001Copyright: 2001 The Register-GuardContact: rgletters guardnet.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:World Hemp Festival 2001, Hemp, Hooray! Advocate Throws Final Hemp Party 
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