When I was invited to ring in the New Year by going to a birthday celebration for legal weed I didn’t have to think twice before accepting. I’ve been looking for a way to cross off the item on the stoner girl’s bucket list, “Go to a fancy pot party.” This looked like it was my chance. Plus, 100 percent of the proceeds were going to benefit the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Cool. I’d have probably been sitting at home smoking a joint and going to bed before midnight otherwise anyhow—why not make an evening of it instead? It was a cool 7 degrees on NYE in the Denver area, but with promises of a heated outdoor smoke tent I figured I’d still get the chance to smoke that joint.
The event, Mile High Birthday Bash, wasn’t actually in Denver. It was sort of tucked away in a smaller neighboring city called Glendale. That was fine by me because that meant there was plenty of parking and less walking in the freezing weather.
When I got inside my ID was checked and I was given a gold paper wristband. Behind the age verification checkpoint, I was instructed to check in. After finding my name on a long list, I was directed to the coat check and told the smoking patio was just down the hallway. I checked my coat (which I can’t remember ever doing before), and tucked the ticket away in my purse before heading into the main party room.
Numbered balloons marked reserved tables with cocktail bars and food displays along the edges of the space. There was a huge screen on the wall that wrapped around the entire place, with video playing throughout. I could see my girl Heidi Keyes live-painting the party on a platform near the stage. Booming live music from The Jonah Wesneski Band played as I entered, and really—it was all a little surreal.
Heidi Keyes’ live-painting handiwork
I came to the party armed with a camera so I made my way around the room a few times, snapping pics. Everyone seemed to be a having a good time. It was still early for New Year’s, and people were doing the normal party small talk, catching up, not drunk yet. The open bar featured several cocktails. I tried the signature cocktail called “The 2015’er” and it was SO strong I couldn’t really even drink it. So after my few passes in the room, Heidi took a break from painting and we ventured out to the smoking tent with friends.
Libations helped fuel the fun
Beyond the coat check, up a set of stairs, down a hallway and out some double doors—then a quick run to the tent—and there we were, among the canna-friendly and their clouds of smoke. And it was WARM in this tent, warmer than my apartment for sure. There was a hot chocolate station, and plenty of sitting and standing room, though it was fairly close quarters. Nobody seemed to mind as blunts were rolled and sparked, bowls were packed and joints were being smoked as casually as cigarettes. No arguments from me: This was a bitchin’ way to celebrate a full year of store-bought weed in Colorado.
Cozy in the smoking tent
After our smoke, we made our way back inside to the party. I took a few more shots of unsuspecting partygoers. Most people like to have their photograph taken, but one old guy ducked my camera and turned his back in defiance. I get it: Not everyone at the party had a job that would approve of 420-related activities. I decided it was time to grab some food.
There was too much to choose from, and every time I walked by the table there was something new. When I grabbed some bites there were lamb sliders, some serious fried chicken and roasted corn, skewers of different fruits with goat cheese, and a bacon-wrapped cheese option too. There were quesadillas, and later there was pizza. Anyone who wasn’t taking advantage of the open bar could have fruit-infused water that was near the entrance. There was something for everyone.
A cornucopia of deliciousness
Around 11:40pm wait staff started handing out little glasses of champagne. Well, sips of champagne. I heard one partygoer ask, “Okay, where do I get more champagne after I shoot this?” I was pretty satisfied with my few sips, personally, but I prefer weed to alcohol anyway. Too bad we couldn’t have all gotten a loaded one-hitter or something. Maybe next year!
Close to midnight, event co-producers Jane West of Edible Events and Tyler Marshall from Munch & Company took to the stage to say some thank-yous. As the short speeches were finishing up, the screens around the room started a countdown. Everyone prepared their glasses and hugged their friends.
Happy New Year! And happy one year of legal marijuana in Colorado!
The room was filled with anticipation, glasses raised, smiles plastered on everyone’s faces. Midnight struck and the screens around the room featured a slow motion shot of a bottle of champagne popping and spraying everywhere. Then there was an image with pot leaves and the words “One Year of Legal Cannabis” encircled the room. People blew noisemakers and kissed the ones they love. I choked down my champagne and got a big red-lipped smack on the cheek.
The room thinned out considerably after that, but some people definitely went out for a smoke. I took a few more photos, grabbed another bite to eat and collected my coat. I passed a huge limo on my way out to my car—talk about fancy. I wonder if it was a 420-friendly limo… gonna have to add THAT to the bucket list for sure! But for now, I can check off “Go to a fancy pot party”, without a doubt. Happy New Year!