The Seattle HEMPFEST® protestival started out as a humble little gathering of stoners and has grown into one of the most sophisticated cannabis policy reform events in the world.
Originally billed as the “Washington Hemp Expo”, the first Hempfest started in Volunteer Park in 1991.
Event Director, Vivian McPeak, and the Seattle Hempfest crew developed the brand and model of HEMPFEST® “Protestival” to educate the public on Cannabis issues and promote legalization initiatives, in a unique atmosphere mixing grassroots activism with a free, public music festival.
This successful model and registered brand are officially licensed and emulated in several other states, as legalization efforts spread nationwide, including in Oregon, Missouri, Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, and of course, IDAHO.
Boise Hempfest is officially licensed and trademarked through the original Seattle event. www.hempfest.org
Organized by Event Director, Arlene Falcon, Moscow Hempfest has taken place annually since 1997; in the small college town of Moscow.
Held in East City Park, Moscow Hempfest was a large part of the inspiration to bring Cannabis Education to Southern Idaho.
H.O.P.E. stands for Hemp Offers People Everything
Original organizers were reluctant to use the word HEMP in their name, due to persecution by the Idaho government caused by continued ignorant and archaic Cannabis perception and laws.
Rightly so, as one organizer was unjustly and forcibly detained on the way to the inagural event, for possessing Japanese Maple branches she intended to use as decoration - that "looked like Cannabis leaves" - and more than a dozen Boise Police officers attended the event for "observation purposes".
Modeled after the original Seattle and Moscow Hempfest events,
the Idaho H.O.P.E. Fest held two successful events; the first at Julia Davis Park in 2011, and the second at Ann Morrision Park in 2012.
The original events were sponsored by Compassionate Idaho, Idaho Moms for Marijuana and the Idaho Chapter of NORML
Originally scheduled for April of that year, and sponsored in part by New Approach Idaho, the inagural event was postponed when New Approach Idaho pulled their medical marijuana petition from circulation and stepped away from the event due to dissolution of the non-profit organization.
Local Cannabis Activist, Serra Frank, continued the vision of Cannabis Education in Idaho; by forming Boise Hempfest, Inc. with the help of fellow activist, Ryan Augusta, and another "silent director".
Both Serra and Ryan were involved with organizing the original Idaho H.O.P.E. Fests in 2011 & 2012.
The first Boise Hempfest consisted of over 65 Vendors, Live Music, including a special 4:20pm appearance by Chief Greenbud, Educational Speakers, Prize Giveaways and the first free Family Friendly Kid Land.
Billed as a Cananbis Education Event, the first Boise Hempfest was sponsored primarily by Idaho Moms for Marijuana
Serra Frank (pictured) continued as the Director, and Event Coordinator, of Boise Hempfest from 2016-2021 - working annually with the City of Boise Special Events Committee to help grow the event through the original Hempfest vision of a free speech, peaceful protestival focused on education and legalization.
Serra initiated the "family friendly" element by incorporating a free Kid Land for families that attend the event; with free crafts, games, prizes, activities and a bounce house for the kids.
She also evolved the educational proponents of a Hempfest event through a free Enchanted Forest that contained Cannabis oriented educational displays - depicting topics such as the War on Drugs, Cannabis Prohibition, 10,000 year History, and Potential Uses; such as Industrial, Medical, Recreational and more.
Both unique elements of the event continue to grow every year and are sponsored by Idaho Moms for Marijuana; as well as numerous and much appreciated "Kid Land Sponsors" that alternate every year.
As the founder of Moms for Marijuana International, Serra's vision to include families as a part of the Hempfest experience, and provide real Cannabis Education, is the primary basis and goal of all Boise Hempfest events - to bring real Cannabis Education to Idaho families.
In acknowledgement of her years of hard work and dedication as a Cannabis acitvist in Idaho, including as the founder and voluntary Event Coordinator for Boise Hempfest, Serra was honored to be the recipient of the prestigious Seattle Hempfest Outstanding Cannabis Activist award in 2019 - for "Outstanding Achievement in the Advancement of Regional Cannabis Law Reform."
To help advance awareness and increase discussion about Cannabis in our local community, Boise Hempfest hosted several public Cannabis Town Hall events.
From 2017-2019, events were held to incorporate public opinion and testimony into a Town Hall setting. Numerous speakers and professionals contributed to several, hours-long conversations about Cannabis reform in Idaho; inviting the public to voice their opinions.
In 2021, the Cannabis Town Hall was merged with the Enchanted Forest into the Boise Hempfest "Enchanted Hemposium," to continue the tradition of incorporating public discussion and education into the event; including Cannabis themed educational displays and creating speaker panels that occur through out the day.
For several years, many of the anti-marijuana voices and legalization opponents in Idaho were invited to attend the Cannabis Town Halls - in the hopes of providing a balanced debate and conversation about the reform of laws in Idaho.
Despite our repeated invitations to each of these Town Hall events, the Idaho prohibitionists continuously refused to attend.
The 5th event was originally scheduled for April 18th, 2020; but was postponed due to the Idaho government mandated "stay at home order" issued at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Having grown to include a Beer Garden, sponsored by local Edge Brewing Company, the 5th annual Boise Hempfest had evolved over the years to include more than 100 local vendors, educational speakers, live music, belly dancers, fire dancers and so much more!
Continuing the mission of a Cannabis Education Event, sponsors now included legal dispensaries from Ontario, Oregon; in an effort to help bring real awareness of the benefits of the Cannabis plant from experts in the legal Cannabis industry.
In 2022, Chris Valenzuela (pictured with his wife) joined the Hempfest team - to become the new Event Director, in lieu of Serra Frank stepping down for personal family reasons.
The passing of the torch was a quiet affair, despite the extraordinary addition Chris made by taking the reins of the event; bringing with him years of experience and expertise in media and public relations.
Chris incorporated the event as Boise Hempfest, LLC; and successfully coordinated the 6th annual event - held July 14th, 2022.
Serra remains a significant part of Boise Hempfest as the O.G. Liaison, helping to bridge past & future events; as well as the Director of Kid Land, Enchanted Hemposium, and Activism.
Chris & Serra work together, closely with his team, to ensure that the original Boise Hempfest vision of a free & family-friendly, grassroots Cannabis Education Event continues in the coming years.
Vivian McPeak, Cyril Bouanna, Steve Phun, Sharon Seymour
& The Hempfest Crew
Summer, John, Boise Parks & Recreation, Kelli Frank,
Boise Special Events Committee, Boise Fire Department,
Boise Police Department, Central District Health Department
GrassCity.com, Cannabiz, Beverly Hills Cannabis Club, Treasure Valley Cannabis Company, Zion Cannabis, Burnt River Farms, HotBox Farms, Cannabis & Glass, Weedology, The Bud House, The Grow Shop, Inhale Bliss, Elevation 2150, Top Crop, Edge Brewing Company, Moms for Marijuana International, Treasure Valley Smokin' Hot Mamas, Govannon Studios, Cannabis Education in Idaho, Mule Extracts, Yamba Junk, Golden Nugget CBD, The Honey Pot, Select Extracts, Boise Hemp World, and all of the sponsors who help to support us every year. We couldn't do it with out you!
Steve Phun, Ryan Augusta, Russ Belville, Lori Duckworth, Cheryl Shuman, Joy Beckerman, Sharon Seymour, Vicca Thompson, Freedom Grow, Kristin Flor, Bill Esbensen, Ammon Bundy, Dana Wilson, Grandma Cat Jeter, Jared Allaway, Kat Bohnsak, Koby Conrad, Meagan Holt, Timothy Edwards, Craig Beresh, Chef Carosi, Lyon Pride Music, Billy & Lilly Fisher, Joseph Evans, Jackee Winters, Katie Donahue, Andy Clements, and all of the speakers that have graced our stage over the years with their Cannabis knowledge, experiences and expertise.
Maegan Ferguson - Absolute Security of Idaho
John Carter Security Services
Jess Andrews - PA for a Day
Pause for the Cause, Chief Greenbud, Chris Foster, Flow Dojo, Town of Trees, Bet on Red, Sunsmith, Cairo Fusion, Starbelly School of Dance, Freedom Renegades, Brian Crouse, LieForm, Derrty Shirt, Cannabis Saves Lives (Timothy Edwards), Athena Vainuku, Talon Smartt, DJ KRock, Kyle Smith, Tomorrow's Bad Seeds, Carrie Reese, Bluesman Trent, VenaCava, Kimerez & Bamboo, TNYG, Madison Proof, and all that have contributed to the cause by entertaining us with their performances.
Robert Jones & Family, Ryan Augusta, Steve Danielson, Julie Fors, Julia Christensen, Bill Esbensen, Dana Wilson, Russ Belville, Lori Duckworth, Lisa Adams & Family, Nathanial Adams, Allison Mettie, David Lybolt, Jon Basabe, Gisela Woggins, Jon Morgan, Marci Valenzuela, Brittany Lattimer, and all of our dedicated volunteers who help make Hempfest happen every year.
Arlene Falcon, Moscow Hempfest, Idaho Moms for Marijuana, Beverly Hills Cannabis Club, Compassionate Idaho, New Approach Idaho, Idaho Cannabis Coalition, 420Mommy, Kind Idaho, Legalize Idaho, Green Majority, Health Freedom Idaho, Peoples Rights, William Nance, Dorothy Burrows, Fight for Lilly Consulting, Freedom Grow, Safer Shirts, Gene Bennett, The Karlfeldt Center
Jenny Valenzuela, Cheri Moore, Chris Krahn,
Wyatt Wurtenberger, Alejandra
Nic & Big J, 100.3 The X, 103.5 KISS FM, Boise Weekly
All of our dedicated vendors, who were with us from the start, and return every single year without fail - without whom the foundation and success of Boise Hempfest would not have ever been possible. Thank you for your contribution to the cause!
Copyright © 2016-2023 Boise Hempfest, LLC. - All Rights Reserved.
Trademark under official license from Seattle Hempfest©