Extravaganja 2013 attracted around 6,000 fans to the Amherst Town Common
The largest public venue in the little college town of Amherst -- the quaint town green -- will once again play host to Extravaganja, a celebration of all things pot. And these days, with the herb now practically legal, there's plenty for them to celebrate.
Interestingly, the loss of that cachet that comes with doing something illegal seems not to have hurt attendance any, as last year they had about the same peak attendance (the entire common being shoulder to shoulder) as at any time over the past 23 years.
UMass Cannabis Reform Coalition Treasurer Delany Ratner tells me the budget for this year's event is around $7,500 (renting stage and sound system, port-a-potties, garbage dumpster, printing t-shirts) so they get a lot of bang for their buck.
One thing they don't spend money on is advertising simply because there's no need. Word of mouth and social media seem to to the trick.
While Amherst Police will be out in force on Saturday as they always are for an event that attracts such a large crowd, there really is little to no disruptive behavior. Unlike the Blarney Blowout, which attracts somewhat less of a crowd but requires police dressed in riot gear to bring under control.
Rumor has it the "Hobart Hoedown" 2014 has been scheduled for Saturday as well, probably on purpose to coincide with Extravaganja, figuring the police will be preoccupied in town center so they can raise all sorts of hell in far flung North Amherst.
At the height of the Blarney Blowout last year (nowhere near as bad as this year) nitwits at Townhouse apartments made false 911 emergency calls claiming assaults with weapons were taking place in South Amherst to try to distract police away from their pernicious party.
It didn't work.
A major variable impacting attendance (at either event) is weather, and Saturday is suppose to be somewhat rainy. So that could put a damper on things.
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