Cannabis festival hopes to keep drawing in crowds with day of action

The fifth annual Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival will take over Nay Aug Park in Scranton for a full day of music, education, food and more.
Founded in the city in 2015, the free festival this year will take place Saturday, April 20, starting at 9 a.m. and featuring 10 hours of live music on three stages. Set to attend are Root Shock, Suburban Sensi, Philadelphia Slick, Brahctopus, the Holtzmann Effect, Rogue Chimp, Young Lion, Eric Harvey & Friends, Dee Maple Band, Canary Circus and Friends of the Family.
The Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival is a celebration of the cannabis culture and also will include live art, vendors and guest speakers. Since its conception, Pennsylvania has legalized the use of medical cannabis, but other uses remain outlawed.

Tommy DeWald of Reading dances with a hula hoop at the Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival at Nay Aug Park in Scranton on Sunday, April 22, 2018. Christopher Dolan / Staff Photographer

“We will continue to hold this event for years to come even after the cannabis prohibition is lifted,” festival spokesman Jeff Zick said.
Festival speakers will come in from around the country to educate people about cannabis and its potential values. The festival also will have around 250 merchandise vendors and 20 food vendors, including Manning’s Ice Cream, Uncle Bucks BBQ and West Side Flavas.
Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival has grown greatly over the last few years, with more than 10,000 attending last year. And organizers believe it has had a great impact on the local community.
“Two or three years ago, people would arrive just in time for the event and leave as quickly as they could in fear of getting in trouble for speaking about cannabis,” Zick said. “Now we have trouble finding hotel rooms for people because people come in on Friday before the event and book all of the hotel rooms from
Wilkes-Barre to Waverly.”

People play percussion instruments on the lawn of the Everhart Museum during the Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival at Nay Aug Park in Scranton on Sunday, April 22, 2018. Christopher Dolan / Staff Photographer

The growth of the festival also has had a positive effect on local businesses, Zick noted.
“People travel from all over the place to come to this festival, and they shop in downtown Scranton as well as stop and eat at all of the local restaurants,” he added. “It is really great for the community.”
This year, organizers expect at least 15,000 people to attend.
“The event continues to grow every year, no pun intended,” Zick said.

If you go
What: Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival
When: Saturday, April 20, starting at 9 a.m.
Where: Nay Aug Park, Mulberry Street and Arthur Avenue, Scranton
Details: penncannafest.com

Contact the writer: johearn@timesshamrock.com;
570-348-9127