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Pacific Northwest -- OR, WA

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Daniel McGuire:
Seattle Hempfest  Aug 21-22

At our Seattle meeting on Sunday, one of the things we agreed to try to accomplish was handing out literature at the Seattle Hempfest.  I have contacted them, and they do offer a very low-cost option of a half space at the north end of Myrtle Edwards Park.

What we need now is volunteers to run the show.  I can handle the paperwork, but we need a Seattle-based coordinator, two people to set up on Friday and tear down Sunday night or Monday, and people to cover the booth during the 20 hours (10am to 8pm Sat & Sun) that the show is open.  Besides our Yahoo group and the forum, I now have the complete list of WA & OR porcupines.  FYI, it has 38 Washingtonians and 26 Oregonians.  I will send out an email today and ask them to get involved.

Let's step up to the plate!


Daniel McGuire:
There IS such a thing as a free lunch.

On Saturday, September 11, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is giving a day-long seminar near Seattle.  The four main talks are:

- Why and How Government Grows
- Free-Market Environmentalism
- Utopia in Power: The Soviet Tragedy
- Reclaiming the Spirit of Americanism

The seminar, including a catered lunch and breaks, is free, but you do have to RSVP.  You can find details here.

If you aren't familiar with FEE, it is the country's oldest research organization promoting limited government and individual liberty.  FEE publishes a delightful magazine, The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty, which I devour as soon as it arrives every month.  As Walter Williams, economics professor at George Mason University said:

--- Quote ---"The most important contribution The Freeman has made is that of making the ideas of liberty readily accessible to a broad range of people who may have limited training in philosophy, political science, and economics. That is the true test of wisdom, making potentially complex ideas understandable to the ordinary person."
--- End quote ---

Carol and I hope to see you there.


Daniel McGuire:
Hempfest Update

I received the FSP's packet from Hempfest.  We are in booth 528, about the middle of the park, between the McWilliams Memorial Stage and the El Steiner Us Bus (whatever that is).  We are at the end of a row of booths, close to both paths, next to something marked on the maps as "bars", which may be monkey bars.  Portapotties and water are very close.

Here's what they have to say about parking:

--- Quote ---Hempfest takes place on a weekend.  On-street parking is typically plentiful and cheap.  Sunday parking is free, on street in the area.  There are many 'pay' lots in the immediate vicinity with reasonable weekend rates.
--- End quote ---

If you are walking in from the north, they recommend the Galer St. overpass or the Prospect St. overpass from Elliott Ave.  From the south you just walk in from the corner of Alaskan Way and Broad St, or get off the trolley at Broad.

I have a pass that gets us in to set up between 4pm and 9pm on Friday, and another pass that I think gets us in before the crowd on Saturday and Sunday.  Who wants to take a shift?


Dan McGuire:
Hempfest Recap

It was a lot of work, but we handed out close to 1000 flyers at the Seattle Hempfest last weekend.  Many thanks to those porcupines who came to help: Eric Hartford, Bob Lowe, Jacqueline Passey and Emily Sandblade.  A number of LP members were also there handing out our literature (and theirs), notably Don, Ruth and Scott.  Finally, very special thanks to Ethan Pooley who put some late nights working on our signs and banner.  The banner, with its bright orange background of fall leaves, really stood out and got us noticed.

This was an interesting experience for me, as I had never worked a crowd like that before.  Especially for live-and-let-live types like us, it feels awkward to make that first step and impose on someone who didn't seek contact.  However, politics is something that can't be done in a vacuum.  We need other people, not just for our membership, but to believe in the principles of liberty and to vote and act accordingly.

Hempfest provided an opportunity to meet a LOT of people.  There were many times when the flow in front of our booth was so heavy that by the time I had handed out a flyer and separated the next one from the top of the stack, ten people had gone by.  We learned how to get flyers into people's hands.  You need eye contact, a smile and to extend the flyer towards them at right moment.  Scott and Eric had success using a leading statement, like "Are you in favor of legalization?", but I just liked a simple, "How are you?".

It's nice having a variety of literature to hand out.  Besides our own tri-fold and two-sided full page drug legalization flyer, we also had some business cards, stickers (popular with high schoolers), the smallest political quiz, a clever bright green marijuana-related handout that Jacqueline made and a variety of other LP literature.  Bright colors are good and small sizes are good.  They cost less to produce and people are more likely to accept them.

There were a few special moments.  Like the time someone refused to take a flyer, then four steps later turned around and said, "Oh are you libertarians?  I'll take one.".

As for the bottom line: did we pick up any new members?  I don't know.  Most just took a flyer and walked on by.  Some chatted for a moment.  Others came into the booth for more information.  A few stayed to talk for ten minutes or more.  We probably need to take a class in sales and learn how to close.  At the very least we got noticed and we got experience.  I'm ready to try again.  Gun shows, anyone?

P.S. There's still a few days left to sign up for the free FEE seminar, Saturday, 9/11 in Bellevue.


Dan McGuire:
Does anyone have experience with putting signs on highway overpasses?  Do you get hassled by cops?  Have trouble keeping your sign from blowing off into traffic?  Do many people stop to talk to you?

I think that with election season heavily upon us, an overpass banner like:

"Vote with your feet!  Join the Free State Project .org (logo)"

would get some attention.  Then at the next exit we could use Jacqueline Passey's Burma Shave sign idea to have a series of lawn signs, such as:

"The FSP's the way"
"to make your take-home pay higher."
"Give us a smile"
"and we'll hand you a flyer!"

The whole thing could be done quite cheaply.  Kinkos will print B&W signs up to three foot tall by arbitrary width for 50 cents a square foot, so a 20'x3' sign is only $30.  Glue that to some large pieces of corrugated cardboard, attach rope and we're in business.

What do you think?



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