Extravaganja marijuana festival moves to Franklin County Fairgrounds in Greenfield – MassLive.com

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GREENFIELD — Extravaganja — the regional celebration of all things cannabis — is moving this year to the Franklin County Fairgrounds, where the president of the fair board says it’ll be a good fit for a venue better known for dairy cattle and farm machinery.

Extravanganja will be Sunday, April 19 from noon to 8 p.m. at the fairgrounds at 89 Wisdom Way on the city’s outskirts. Tickets are free this year, a change from the $5 admission at Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton.

But parking will cost $5 for carpools of three or more persons and $10 for cars with one or two people. Parking lots open at 11:30 a.m.

The Cannabis Reform Coalition, a student organization at the University of Massachusetts that has organized the event for nearly three decades, announced the change in venue on its social media accounts. The city of Greenfield Licensing Commission approved an entertainment license for Extravaganja Monday night, according to city officials there.

“If you would have asked me five years ago, I would have said ‘no way’,” said Mike Nelson, president of the Franklin County Agricultural Society, which owns the fairgrounds and runs the annual fair. “There is a whole new culture around marijuana in recent years. It is legal now.”

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission has approved 14 licenses for marijuana businesses in Franklin County. Statewide, there are 80 recreational marijuana shops in operation and gross sales of recreational marijuana since November 2018 have topped $471 million.

Now in its 29th year, Extravaganja has been in search of a more permanent home in recent years, going from this longtime home on the Amherst Town Common to the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton, where traffic problems made it unwelcome.

Organizers talked of moving it in 2020 to Heritage State Park in Holyoke. But Heritage State Park is just seven acres in the center of that city.

The Franklin County Fairgrounds is 27 acres.

Extravaganja expects as many as 6,000 to 10,000 visitors if the weather is good, Nelson said.

“Our biggest concern was traffic management and getting that many people into the fairgrounds in such a short amount of time,” Nelson said. “It’s equivalent to one of our busiest days at the fair.”

The Cannabis Reform Coalition is already meeting with Greenfield police about a traffic plan, he said.

“I think our location being kind of off the beaten path in a quieter, sleepier town away from the Five College region makes it a better fit,” Nelson said. “I think it’s going to be a good event. I think it will work well.”

The Cannabis Reform Coalition is renting the entire grounds and all its buildings for the day at the standard rate of $5,000.

Extravaganja always features live music, displays of marijuana related products including hemp, political discussions related to liberalizing marijuana laws and, despite laws still on the books barring it in public spaces, open smoking of marijuana.

The event is always near April 20 — a nod to the number 420 (or 4:20, or 4/20) associated with marijuana in popular culture.

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This article originally appeared here in https://www.masslive.com/news/2020/02/extravaganja-marijuana-festival-moves-to-franklin-county-fairgrounds-in-greenfield.html

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