By Benjie Cooper
YouTube: Lucid’s Vlog
Imagine enjoying a dab of some of the most delicious shatter you’ve ever tasted, then sipping a few puffs off of a nicely rolled joint before walking a few yards away and going for a leisurely spin on the colorfully lit Ferris wheel. Next, you can take a quick stop to grab a churro and some medicated cotton candy to make for an extra special ride on the swings. These are just some of the experiences that one might expect to have at the Southern California “cannabis community carnival” known as the Mega Sesh.
The two-day festival took place at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino on the warm, hazy August 19-20th weekend where crowds made their way through the front gates in anticipation of the cannabis, games, and amusements that lay ahead. Those who showed up early got to watch the amusing antics of a curly-red-headed juggler who entertained the crowd in line with various juggling tricks, and silly jokes told through his thick New Zealand accent.
Upon entering the event, attendees who were not in possession of the always-required doctor’s recommendation for medical cannabis were able to obtain one from a booth located in the grassy area nearby before proceeding into the rest of the event. Recreational cannabis laws will not be taking full effect until 2018 and, in the meantime, marijuana festivals and seshes continue to operate within the parameters of Proposition 215 and SB 420. In the future, a legal adult should only need a valid picture I.D. to enter events instead of a recommendation.
After obtaining the proper wristband or lanyard, the first hall that event-goers encountered was the Citrus venue where, at one end, rows of white chairs sat in front of a steel barrier that separated the crowd from the large black stage beyond. During the daytime, a steady stream of speakers, activists, and advocates took to the stage to bring cannabis education to the passing crowds. Edible education, marijuana and pregnancy, social media and branding, and cannabis tech were just a few of the topics covered throughout the event.
Throughout the day, as a variety of personalities from the cannabis world made their way on and off the stage, edible expert Alice Moon could periodically be found making her way in and out of the rows of chairs, handing out complimentary mini-joints to the seated crowd as they listened to talks on a diverse range of marijuana topics. Later in the day, the Citrus venue served as a spot for games and giveaways with ringleader-uniformed host Angela Mazzanti as well as entertainment from some southern California music acts including Gene Ladell and Wil E. Haze.
Directly through the doors on the other side of the Citrus building, a large Ferris wheel welcomed attendees into the carnival section of the event in the outside lot. A variety of food vendors offered up non-medicated options for the hungry cannabis consumers. Some patrons tried their luck at carnival games with tickets purchased from a nearby booth. In the adjoining lot, various inflatable games were set up where people vied for domination in a giant inflatable Race to the Top arena while others rolled down a crisscrossed vinyl track inside squishy human-sized hamster balls. Inside the Citrus venue, there was also a giant inflated version of Hungry Hungry Hippos for anyone who wanted to play.
In addition to the Ferris wheel, there were also swings and Zipper rides placed in adjacent lots. As part of the admission price, access to the rides and all of the inflatable games were unlimited. The only activities that one needed the $1 tickets for were the carnival games being played in the booths nearby.
The nearby Damus building was the spot where all of the cannabis vendors were located. Directly through the air-conditioned venue’s glass doors, rows of merchants awaited the masses with their usual selection of cannabis products including flower, concentrates, edibles, topicals, clothing, accessories, and glassware.
The juggler who had been entertaining the ticket line earlier in the day now strode through the vendor aisles atop a tall pair of stilts, clad in a comically-long red kilt and speaking animatedly with a thick Scottish accent. Even later in the day, another stiltwalker could be found amongst the booths but wearing a giant yellow potted flower costume instead of Scottish attire.
Guests who were in possession of a VIP or Judge lanyard gained access to the VIP dome located behind the Zipper. Inside the lounge, people sat on white couches and perused through and sampled from their gift bags while enjoying the cool air-conditioned environment; a welcome respite from the hot San Bernardino sun. Complimentary food and beverages were provided as well as medicated massages and larger-than-normal versions of games like Connect Four and Jenga.
While attendance was noticeably lower than what organizers had anticipated for the event’s inaugural run, the people that did come for the weekend cannabis carnival were high, and in high spirits overall. If carnivals and cannabis are a combo that you think you might enjoy, consider attending the next Mega Sesh which is supposed to take place sometime during the summer of 2018.