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In Photos: Inside the Emerald Cup, California’s Largest Harvest Festival

December 13, 2016
The Emerald Cup is more than just another cannabis competition. Held in the heart of California’s iconic Emerald Triangle, it’s an opportunity for the the region’s cannabis pioneers to get away from their farms and celebrate the fruits—or flowers, as it were—of their labor. This year’s event, held Dec. 10–11 in Santa Rosa, featured more than 650 different strains of the best sun-grown cannabis in the state along with dozens of other product categories.

The event also serves as cultural watering hole and a forum for industry networking. From floor demonstrations and expert panels by day to multistage musical performances by night—and, of course, endless opportunities to sample the finest flowers and concentrates on the West Coast—the Emerald Cup pays homage to a bountiful fall harvest through just the right mix of art, community, and revelry.

Attendees wait in line at The Emerald Cup held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. December 10, 2016 Photo by: © Erik Castro

Attendees wait in line at The Emerald Cup held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. December 10, 2016

An attendee from Chico, California with their homegrown cannabis in a tin at The Emerald Cup held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. (Erik Castro for Leafly)

An attendee from Chico, California with her homegrown cannabis in a tin at The Emerald Cup.

Naresh Kumar making nan at the Indian Gourmet stand during The Emerald Cup held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. (Erik Castro for Leafly)

Naresh Kumar making naan at the Indian Gourmet stand.

Event attendee sampling cannabis at the Natural Cannabis Co. booth during The Emerald Cup held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. (Erik Castro for Leafly)

Event attendees sampling cannabis at the Natural Cannabis Co. booth during The Emerald Cup.

Artist Seth McMahon, of Oakland, California finishing up a painting he worked on for about 4 months during The Emerald Cup held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. (Erik Castro for Leafly)

Artist Seth McMahon, of Oakland, California, finishing up a painting he worked on for about 4 months.

Daniel Steigman of BHOGART explaining his company's butane extractors to attendees at The Emerald Cup held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. (Erik Castro for Leafly)

Daniel Steigman of BHOGART explaining his company’s butane extractors to attendees.

A panel discussion at The Emerald Cup held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California.

A panel discussion at The Emerald Cup.

Glass artist Sammy Garcia of Mexico City.

Glass artist Sammy Garcia of Mexico City.

Zach Trent, left, and Jennifer Sic looking over glass products on display at The Mighty Quinn booth.

Zach Trent, left, and Jennifer Sic looking over glass products on display at The Mighty Quinn booth.

Michelle Smith, left, handing out slices of pizza with Stephanie Tholl at the Home Slice Pizza stand.

Michelle Smith, left, handing out slices of pizza with Stephanie Tholl at the Home Slice Pizza stand.

Glass products on display at The Mighty Quinn booth.

Glass products on display at The Mighty Quinn booth.

Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley performing at The Emerald Cup.

Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley performing at The Emerald Cup.

HIRIE performing at The Emerald Cup.

HIRIE performing at The Emerald Cup.

Erik Castro's Bio Image

Erik Castro

Erik Castro is an award-winning photojournalist and frequent contributor to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and San Francisco Chronicle. He is the sole photographer for a book about a new generation of winemakers, The New California Wine, and is currently working on a long-term project documenting the faces of Sonoma County harvest workers. Originally from Los Angeles, he now resides in Santa Rosa.

View Erik Castro's articles