By: Marvin Moses

For outdoor growers, fall is time for the harvest. But for me, fall is time for the annual Harvest Festival. It’s a welcome chance to escape the city and get down to some serious smoking.

As I made my way north with friends towards the New York State Cannabis Action Network’s 10th annual Harvest Festival, we were in high spirits. Soon, we would be entering a fantasy land where the vibes are always mellow and dank nuggets are plentiful and cheap.

It was clear within minutes of our late-night arrival that the quality of bud had increased dramatically since I last attended the festival two years ago. Sour Diesel is one of the finest strains of pot available these days, appreciated for both its heart-pounding sativa high and distinct flavor. Its lemon-like aroma was a constant presence as I wandered aimlessly in a daze over the course of the weekend. Other high-quality ganja available included Honeydew, General’s Revenge, LSD (Lifesaver x Sour Diesel), Lambsbread (if you believe it still exists) and numerous unnamed local outdoor varieties.

The Harvest Festival was improved this year by a move north to Moose River Park in Lyonsdale, NY, on the edge of the Adirondacks. The event had been held for the previous five years at Echo Lake in Afton, NY. But after two overdose deaths at an unrelated festival held at Echo Lake in May and a dispute with the campground’s management, the Harvest Festival’s promoters sought out a new location.

This year’s venue had a more compact, accessible layout that helped foster a sense of community among festival goers. The ability to meet other people with a similar appreciation of top-quality marijuana is one of the main reasons the Harvest Festival is becoming increasingly popular among East Coast heads. There’s nothing nicer than puffing a fat joint with new friends around the campfire, free from the fear that a park ranger or local cop is sneaking up in the woods behind you.

Of course, no festival would be complete without music. For the Harvest Festival’s 10th anniversary a new emphasis was placed on making sure that music was a continuous presence. Musical styles ranged from reggae to jam bands to The Persuasions, a surprisingly trippy a cappella group. But the musical highlight was the passionate performance of folk-rock legend Richie Havens. Despite the frigid temperatures, Havens managed to work up a sweat and was met with enthusiastic support from the stoned crowd.

Adding to the good atmosphere, profits from the Harvest Festival went to support the New York State Cannabis Action Network’s current efforts to generate support for medical marijuana legislation in New York. Find out more about their work and the Harvest Festival at nystatecan.org.

Check out the New York State Harvest Festival Photo Gallery