Small-town America lives for the parade — the time-honored tradition of stepping out and strutting down Main Street for all to see: Summer isn’t summer without the Fourth of July parade, and in hamlets with a strong connection to the land, it isn’t really fall without harvest festival parades.
California’s agricultural towns see parades celebrating grapes, beans, garlic, artichokes and paganism. But California has legalized recreational marijuana for all adults 21 and over, so in the corners of the state where the marijuana plant is the local economic driver, there is also much to celebrate.
Meaning it’s no surprise that in the small town of Arcata, the county seat of Humboldt, one of the three northern California counties that comprise the state’s “Emerald Triangle” —the American cannabis industry’s agricultural heartland — there is a cannabis harvest parade.
According to the Eureka Times-Standard, “several hundred people” turned out on August 12 for what organizers called the “Yes We Cann! Parade & Hullabaloo.”
Behold. And take note, there was a goat — from the Times Standard:
People of all ages, dogs and even a goat paraded from the Humboldt State University parking lot at 14th and Union Streets to H Street, around the Arcata Plaza and into the Arcata Ball Park where the hullabaloo took place. …
Growdozers pulled trailers decorated as floats. Bands played live music from two of the floats singing cannabis tunes.
The Emerald Triangle — including the the roughly 7,500 marijuana farms in Humboldt — produces a heroic share of California’s sizable output of commercial marijuana (and much of its black-market cannabis).
And while there are already multiple annual festivals to celebrate the cannabis plant — Seattle has its HempFest and the Emerald Cup is in nearby Sonoma County — an innocuous display like a parade is a logical outcome, though it’ll be some time before civic leaders like the Rotary Club or the Chamber of Commerce feel comfortable enough about the local cannabis industry to be the official sponsors.
So the onus for organizing fell to Humboldt Green, a local firm that boasts services including business consulting, cultivation advice and event planning. Like parades.
So there was executive director Stephen Gieder, wearing a marijuana leaf mask, at the head of a march that included a “cannabis queen and king” float, daring revelers perched on stilts and other representatives of 39 Humboldt-area marijuana companies, who handed out child-friendly treats like candies, cups and koozies to citizens assembled along the parade route.
The purpose of most parades is a display of pride and accomplishment — unless you’re from the next town over, where there is no parade, in which case these demonstrations create envy.
To hear Dave Wasson, a resident of Sonoma County, tell the Times Standard — mission accomplished.
“We don’t have anything like this Sonoma County,” he said. “Yet.”
TELL US, would you attend a cannabis parade?