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The secret fuel of 4/20? It's the beer, not the bud

Can't a psuedo-holiday catch a break?

This year's marijuana festivus, 4/20, falls on the same Saturday as Record Store Day and two days before Earth Day. They seem like a natural combination of events, hippies and hipsters gathering defiantly to turn back the clock on humanity.

SweetWater Brewing Co. made the connection with its sponsorship of Saturday's The 600 Block 420 on 4/20, a concert festival featuring more than 20 bands at four St. Petersburg venues.

But even with the name, pot seems to be on the back burner.

To the uninitiated, Saturday's concerts are an obvious choice for entertainment paralleling your herbal refreshment intake. All four venues — The State Theater, Octave, Fubar and The Local 662 — are within one block. Music fans can get a wristband to enter the concert venues for $4.20. Vendors will have booths. It all sounds pretty standard for a festival on a pot holiday, but for SweetWater, this isn't about pot.

The company started brewing beer on April 20, 1997 and last year brought their signature brew, 420, to the Tampa Bay market, said Francesca Zeifman, a spokeswoman for the label.

"St. Pete is a cool place with some good music and this fit well with what we're trying to do," Zeifman said. "It's really all about the day that we first brewed the beer and people just get it."

Organizers with St. Petersburg's No Clubs Productions say the festival is also tied to Record Store Day and eco-friendly businesses are among the vendors. No head shops will be shilling products.

Granola shops, artists and acupuncturists will be on hand, ensuring your mellow won't be harshed.

"We are pursuing more Earth Day-friendly vendors and artists," according to Anna Serena of No Clubs.

This isn't to say the sponsor and organizers are shunning the event's connection to a celebration of a (currently) illegal substance.

"We're not shying away from it," Zeifman said. "We're not directly tied to it either."

420 on 4/20

Twenty bands, including the New Orleans Suspects, Tim Barry, Burning Tree, the Woolly Bushmen and Jensen Serf Co., will perform at the State Theatre, Octave, Fubar and the Local 662, all on downtown St. Pete's 600 Block. The festival starts at 6 p.m.; tickets are $4.20. Get them at Daddy Kool Records or see statemedia.tumblr.com.

The secret fuel of 4/20? It's the beer, not the bud 04/18/13 [Last modified: Thursday, April 18, 2013 4:19pm]
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