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Crowds gather for unofficial 4/20 event in San Francisco's Golden Gate park

San Francisco’s 420 Hippie Hill event didn’t happen Saturday over what organizers say was a lack of funds — but that didn’t stop people from coming out to Golden Gate Park. 

There was still a pretty good-sized crowd in the park, celebrating cannabis culture with a haze of smoke adrift. 

And the vibes in Golden Gate Park were still happening in Robin Williams Meadow. 

“There are still people who support the movement, and still come to the park, and claim their little spot and smoke some bud,” said San Francisco resident Chris Morales. 

NBC Bay Area spoke with two people from Utah who said they’ve been coming to the event since 2009. 

“We come over 800 miles every year to do this festival in the park,” Debbie Harms said. “And even though we knew beforehand it was cancelled, we’re like, ‘you know what? It’s San Francisco. We will either find the party or we’ll be the party. It’s okay one way or the other.”

“We come every year, but we saw this was kinda being shut down,” Shanna LeBlanc added. “But we figure we can still hang out on the hill.”

Organizers said they were forced to cancel the event due to economic challenges, which meant no stage or booths like previous years. 

However, the city’s Recreation and Parks Department organized something different.  

“There is no official 4/20, but there is the ‘Peace, Love and Volo day,’ said Tamara Barak Aparton with the department. “It’s volleyball, and kickball and cornhole. Just fun and games. There is a DJ out there. And there is some unofficial 4/20 stuff going on too, up on the hill. But it’s not a crush of humanity.”

Hippie Hill is a popular spot on the unofficial cannabis holiday. As a precaution, the city’s fire department, police and other agencies were out and about. 

“We’re just trying to make sure everybody is safe,” said Pastor Dave Hodges, the founder of the Church of Ambrosia. “We brought a bunch of water out here, we have some medics out here.”

Hodges was out there with a team. 

“We know the event is canceled,” Hodges said. “We’re encouraging people not to come. But we expect them to and want to make sure everybody is safe.”

Those who came out told NBC Bay Area that the day was what they hoped for. 

“It’s been really fun just to meet people and look at the cute dogs, even,” LeBlanc said. “You know? Everybody is so happy.”

Source: NBC Bay Area

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