2015 Hempfest

The women of the house are gone this weekend, and I’ve got a three day weekend all to myself! What’s a square like me to do? Go to Hempfest!

Just a bit of background, I don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t drink caffeine, have never used drugs, and I don’t have any tatoos or piercings. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about Hempfest.

The festival takes place at Myrtle Edwards Park in Seattle — down by the Olympic Sculpture Park. It’s a very nice location with the waterfront and rocky beach right next to all the action. It started out as a typical Pacific Northwest cloudy day with the expectation that there would be a little Seattle rain thrown in. An hour or so after it began, it was the worst rain storm I’ve ever seen in Seattle. The whole time I was walking through the park (around 1:00 p.m.), the sky grew darker and darker, it thundered and lightninged the whole time, and eventually my pants and shoes were soaked entirely through, from my waste down. Fortunately, my rain jacket worked great, but only covered by head and torso. It was really an amazing storm! I tried a few shots of the weather, but couldn’t capture the fierceness of storm. Why didn’t I take a video? Honestly, (sighs) I just thought of it right now. Unfortunately, it impaired my ability to take more photos. I was just too wet, and my lens was not weather sealed. Even though I had a rain cover on my camera and lens, and used a lens hood, the storm was unrelentless in its pounding.

Of course I went to take pictures — why else would I go? I was expecting to find tons and tons of pot smoking everywhere — plumes of smoke and very interesting hippie types, the alternate lifestyle (whatever that is), people eating brownies, heck — I was expecting Woodstock! Unfortunately, from a photographic perspective at least, there was very little of that.

What did I really see? An over commercialized event and many business sponsors. Make no mistake, marijuana is big business! There were countless booths selling bongs, marijuana themed shirts using corporate logos — changed slightly to be funny, sunglasses, hats, jewelry, soaps, candles, marijuana growing and harvesting equipment, and tons of food vendors. There were a bunch of people smoking pot outside, and quite a few people trying to sell their homemade cookies and brownies walking through the crowd. The cops were there to make sure no one got out of hand and keep people safe, but weren’t bothering to bust anyone engaging in any way shape or form with marijuana. Some people even brought their kids!

Maybe years ago, it was edgy and cutting edge. Now, it’s pretty much a large head shop. You could get all the same junk in any strip mall — everywhere.

Now, on to the photos…

All photos were shot with an Olympus E-M1 with Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 — vivid mode, shot aperture priority, f/1.4 on all photos. These are the out of camera JPGs.

This guy was giving his kitty a drink of water from a Pringles can, and it was just too cute. I transferred the photo right to my phone and emailed him a copy — right there on the spot.

OMG! How could I not take a photo of this guy? He was super cool though. I asked if I could take his picture, and without any further prompting, he gave me this pose. I thanked him and moved on — I really didn’t want to talk to this guy.


There were probably hundreds if not thousands of bongs for sale throughout Hempfest.


This guy’s name is ??? (I really couldn’t hear him, but just nodded). He told it to me because he’s on his way to being a famous rapper. Just remember, you saw him here first.

I overheard one of the campaigners ask passerbys if they have ever heard of Bernie Sanders.

A bernie Sanders supporter encouraging people to stop by the Bernie booth.

This couple was nice enough to pose, but by this time, the rain was pouring down, and I had to be quick with the shot.

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