The 2021 Emerald Cup: Harvest Ball
The 2021 Emerald Cup Harvest Ball marks the year end culminating event for growers and extractor and was held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Event Photos and Story by Tom Searcy, Product photos by Will Amador
Sonoma County Fairgrounds
The 2021 Emerald Cup Harvest Ball was held at its home, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, tucked away in California's wine country where it has been held for over a decade. This event marked the end of the season for most cultivators and has always been the year end culminating event for growers and extractors. Historically this event has been a time for growers to come together and share their genetics choices for the upcoming season and enjoy some time together smoking cannabis.
‘Harvest Ball’ and ‘Emerald Cup’ Interchangeable
Normally this event is called the Emerald Cup, however this season, the actual cup will be held in the spring, so the Harvest Ball was organized in its place. This essentially made the ‘Harvest Ball’ and ‘Emerald Cup’ interchangeable for the weekend and will be treated as such throughout this article.
This year’s event included brands from all corners of the industry. Premier genetics seed packs and clone cuttings were available from an array of brands including the coveted Compound Genetics run by Christopher Lynch. Chris had cultivators lined up at his booth as soon as the doors opened, eager to get their hands on his Apples and Bananas Cookies collab seed collection.
Chris is famous for breeding the Jet Fuel Gelato, Legend Orange Apricot, The Menthol, and Acai Berry strains. Along with the Apples and Bananas, Chris has collaborated with Cookies to create the White Runtz and Grape Gasolina strains. Also of note was the Jokerz 31 strain, which combines his Jet Fuel Gelato and White Runtz strains, some of the most popular genetics on the market.
Seed Genetics Company
Genetics are a huge part of the Emerald Cup, and many attribute this to the Cup’s second year in Santa Rosa when it was marketed as a grower’s cup sponsored by genetics brands. This was different from the only other relevant cup at the time, High Times. While many also attribute the Chalice festival to moving genetics forward, it was marketed as a glass and music festival, and Emerald Cup has always been centered around the plant.
Growers of all Skill Levels
This uniqueness throughout the years has contributed to the attraction of growers and breeders that attend the Emerald Cup every year. There is no Cannabis Cup like it on the earth, and what better place to hold this event than the home of the best cannabis grown in the world.
Growers of all skill levels are drawn to the fairgrounds each year with dreams of finding and securing the next big genetics. Veteran growers show up year after year looking to learn from each other, interact with breeders, and potentially go home with some unique cuts.
Word spread quickly that this event was a real place where you could actually meet some of these underground breeders and growers like Subcool, Cannarado, and others. This in-person genetics meet-up is the spot for Genetics companies to showcase their newest creations. Cultivators have demonstrated year after year that the Santa Rosa Emerald Cup is a place they will continue to roll the dice looking for that “1 in a million” cut that has the potential to elevate their cannabis career.
Squintz aka Chauncey Leopardi
Celebrities are no stranger to this event and this year we saw attendance from Squints aka Chauncey Leopardi, whose signature Squintz strain was produced by Foreign Genetics. Squints is an LA Based cultivator famous for his role in the coming of age baseball comedy, The Sandlot.
Al Harrington, former NBA player
We also ran into Al Harrington, former NBA player famous for his time with the Indiana Pacers, who has now shifted his focus from sports to his new cannabis brand Viola. Look for his interview with Alien Labs founder, Ted, on Alien TV, his new platform for cannabis journalism.
We linked up with some of our favorite brands for the event. Per usual, the Alien Labs / Connected Booth was front and center grabbing lots of attention. Alien Labs had some really amazing offerings: a line up of 4 or 5 tester strains including a Purple Urkle x Planet Dosi. (Pictured Below)
Alien Labs : Purple Urkle x Planet Dosi
We scooped a jar to check out and of course it was total heat, which came as no surprise. . Also of interest at this booth was another lineup of tester strains on the Connected CA line of flowers.
And of course, the merch drops at this booth were top of the line, with a number of new hoody and t-shirt designs. Also of interest to many attendees was an exclusive Alien Labs/Doja Pack hoodie not available for purchase and only for the Alien Labs family.
In addition to the Alien Labs/Connected booth, we saw a Doja Pack collaboration and picked up some 1/8ths of Doja Pack flower. The flower was as good as we expected, , especially their Hindenburg and Bixcotti x GG x Oreoz (pictured below). Doja Pack is a brand created by Ryan Bartholomew that breeds premium indoor cannabis. Ryan is known for his 2009 raid by a Swat Team directed by the TCU Police Chief that directly resulted in the seizure of27k in cash, 7 pounds of cannabis, and 2 firearms. This raid was the result of a half oz of Bubba Kush being sold to a confidential informant. This case would be publicized and actually helped Ryan gain support within the industry. He is one of the first individuals in the legacy market to take the risk that would eventually evolve into what we know as the modern cannabis industry.
Kalya also made a big splash at the cup. Owners Marc and Joe brought some amazing offerings to the table with an Emerald Cup Exclusive Lineup that included flavors like Gassy Taffy, Peanut Butter Gelato, Double Rainbow, and Papaya. Kalya's booth stayed busy over the course of the weekend, selling out of all of their exclusive rosin flavors on the second day!
Newcomer brand BluePrint is making lots of noise in the industry with their heavenly buds. Their P90 and Jesus Shuttleworth strains have shook up the top shelf indoor market since they hot-stepped into shops this past fall. We were lucky enough to be gifted a jar of their unreleased strain, Dr. Freeze. Dr. Freeze hits all the points you’d want in an aroma: pungent and earthy with a sweet coating of trichomes. We can’t wait to see what other genetics come from the BluePrint brand.
Live Musical Performances
Cannabis and music have always had a tight relationship, and live musical performances have always been a big part of the Emerald Cup. Founder Tim Blake has always come through with amazing music lineups. In the past we have seen acts like Damian Marley and Protoje take the Emerald Cup stage.
This year there was a mix of genres included in the lineup. Headliners for Saturday included Kurupt with members of Wu-Tang, while Sunday closed out the show with a stellar performance by Big Wild. Big Wild is a group from the New England area headed by a former Hip-Hop beat producer that was inspired to create the project by a trip to Big Sur, one of California’s natural wonders.
The performance featured lead man Jackson Stell switching between drums, keyboards, and synths rooted in electronic music, but featuring elements of dynamic pop and disco with influences from his early career making hip-hop beats. These sounds were accompanied by a large screen with colorful backdrops and visuals that simulated a psychedelic aura. The performance featured tracks from Big Wild’s freshman album, Superdream. This energetic and powerful performance had attendees packed into the stage area, dancing until the end of the show, which marked the end of the 2021 Emerald Cup Harvest Ball. It was a perfect close to an unforgettable weekend.
Harvest Ball may be over, but next up for the Emerald Cup will be the actual judging portion of the event. This will conclude with an award ceremony in southern California sometime next year, providing ample time for entries to be processed, cured, packaged, considered, and judged. These entries will be judged across an array of categories including best flower, best solventless extract, best edible, and more. The winning entries will be a must-have item for consumers in the coming months following the awards ceremony.
DISCLAIMER: THIS SITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE.All information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other materials contained on this site are for informational purposes only. No text, graphics, images or other materials on this site are intended to be professional medical advice or a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional medical advice because of something you have viewed on this site.