It was almost stuck.
Lucerne County’s Tim Lockman and Heather Walton, who were in traffic on Noble Street in Kutztown on Saturday en route to the Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival, said the row of vehicles driving to the festival site reminded them of similar slogs they were en route met at the Bloomsburg fair.
Thousands of drivers flocked to Renninger’s antique and farmers market along Noble Street at the southern end of the district on Saturday, the first day of the festival.
With full parking spaces on the market area and blockage at the entrance, participants were on their own to find parking spaces.
Regardless of whether they were approaching from the city or from Lyon, the backup spanned a mile, so many chose to park where they could find a spot and walk the rest of the way.
The lucky ones found parking spaces opposite the market in a small grid of streets. But for most of them it was a breeze to morph into this network. They were brought back to Noble Street and past the festival site into town.
The reward for this slow journey was a place to park their cars along Constitution Boulevard, which runs parallel to Noble, in the area of Kutztown High School and Middle School campus. Then, against the grain of the vehicle traffic they had just left, a trip on foot back south to the free festival.
Nightmarish traffic scenes like this were a big reason the Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival moved from its original location in Scranton to Kutztown last year.
The festival started in 2015 and expanded every year to grow out of a Scranton Park.
Parking and accessibility were key factors in moving the festival, organizer Jeff Zick previously told Reading Eagle.
An estimated 10,000 people attended the festival in Scranton’s Nay Aug Park in 2019, he said.
A number of people who parked their cars more than a mile from the festival set off on foot more or less quickly.
Dale Folk from Lyon knew what to expect because he attended the festival last year.
The 26-year-old, who hiked to the festival with his 28-year-old friend Alex Fields of Fleetwood from a parking lot near Kutztown High School, said the festival offered more than just cannabis-related products.
He enjoys the environment: food, music and vendors.
“I bought some gems and necklaces last year,” he said. “And some tapestries for my room.”
The free festival features 250+ vendors, live music, marijuana-focused speakers and panel discussions, and on-site medical marijuana certifications.
The gates open at 10 a.m. and close on Sunday at 6 p.m. Pets on a leash are welcome.
The Kutztown Fire Company along Noble Street is the perfect place to take advantage of the traffic. Volunteer firefighters took a boat ride and asked motorists to throw a dollar or more into a firefighter boot.
A couple of food trucks sell ice cream, hamburgers, hot dogs and steak sandwiches from the fire department and donate part of their proceeds to the volunteer company.
The festival is part of a larger effort to legalize adult marijuana use. Marijuana organizers from across the state are planning a march on Harrisburg on Tuesday.
Medical cannabis card holders Lockman and Walton said the state should legalize recreational marijuana use.
They believe this would increase tax revenue and lower the price of cannabis for those who use it for medicinal purposes.