Pubdate: Sat, 21 Jul 2001
Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Copyright: 2001 The Register-Guard
Author: Jaime Lyn Rea


HARRISBURG - Hemp burger, hemp bracelet, hemp hat, hemp this and hemp that.

If hemp is your thing, then the World Hemp Festival is your place. 
The annual celebration in honor of the multipurpose plant began its 
annual run Friday in a once-empty hay field east of Harrisburg.

As people arrived, they visited booths touting legalizing marijuana, 
fingered hemp-based clothing and sampled a wide selection of food 
made from hemp. They found dancing music, new friends and a 
slow-paced event that gives time for a little rest.

Allen Outland of Glenwood laid under an open tent, while he listened 
to the music coming from the stage. He has attended the festival 
since the 1980s and said he enjoys the fair's offerings.

"There's a family atmosphere here," he said. "It's keeping us all young."

The festival, which attracts thousands of people each year, continues 
today and Sunday on property owned by Bill Conde, a marijuana 
activist and local businessman.

Conde and his supporters will pass clipboards around today in hopes 
of collecting the signatures of 1,000 registered voters to launch his 
attempt to make a bid for the governorship in 2002.

His political intentions, however, weren't evident at the festival 
Friday. The focus - as usual - is on hemp.

Hemp is the staple in diets this weekend as vendors praise its use in 
items from burgers to noodles to cookies to milkshakes.

Eugene resident Sharon Place of the Loving Spoonful food stand touted 
the benefits of the hemp nut, with which she has supplemented her 
diet for two years.

The nut looks like birdseed and contains essential fatty acids, a 
substance that helps people make the right choices and moral 
decisions, she said.

"It's made an incredible difference in how I feel," she said.

Christopher Hofer of Santa Cruz, Calif., who is spending his summer 
attending festivals like the one this weekend, said hemp has a "quiet 
taste." He said not everything made of hemp tastes good but that the 
plant is nutritious.

"I think it should be more of something that's in everyone's 
household," he said. "It's close to the perfect food."

Hofer swung in a hammocklike chair made with hemp fabric as he talked 
about how hemp is "the plant that's going to rule the world."

"Hemp is the wonder plant," he said. "It has thousands and thousands of uses."

Those uses include building products, fabric and fuel, he said.

However, he said hemp has become confused with marijuana and is 
looked down upon by many people. Legalized growing of hemp is 
essential, he said.

Petitioners set up tents and roamed the fairgrounds to gather 
signatures to legalize private marijuana use by adults, and others 
encouraged people to register to vote in Oregon.

Conde established a no-tolerance policy this year for drug and 
alcohol use on the property in response to past allegations by the 
Linn County sheriff's department that drug use and sales took place 
at the festivals.

The police presence was minimal, although obvious, Friday afternoon. 
Two deputies from the sheriff's department monitored activity, while 
hired security officers searched bags and used metal detectors to 
search for weapons as people entered the festival grounds.

Bunny Tromler of Takilma, a first-time fair attendee and worker, said 
she would like to squash negative notions people have about the 
festival being a drug-centered event.

"I think that preconception is wrong," she said. "They're the people 
who talk a lot and get freaked out and don't come see for themselves."

Paul Noel of San Francisco said he wanted to bring his food booth to 
the festival for the first time in support of hemp and so that his 
sons, ages 9 and 15, could experience another way of living.

"We'd heard about some interesting things - a police raid two years 
ago and that they cleaned that up," he said. "We wanted to come here 
and support hemp and these boys needed to see an alternative 
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