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Set up underway for Vancouver's 4/20 event

Interlocking plastic tiles being set up to protect the grass at Sunset Beach ahead of Saturday's 4/20 event. (Simon Druker, NEWS 1130)

Vancouver’s 4/20 festival is now only a day away, but there is already a flurry of activity at Sunset Beach Park

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It’s all about the grass down at Sunset Beach Park ahead of tomorrow’s annual 4/20 event.

Dozens of workers began setting up the main stage at the park at daybreak.

The big concern last year was keeping the grass (on the ground) from being trampled — it turned into a mud pit the previous year costing thousands of dollars to be reseeded.

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People setting up put down large sheets of plywood as volunteers and organizers set up the main stage — then will come about $30,000-worth of protective tiles.

They are the same kind of tiles used last year, says organizer Dana Larsen. He says they’re bringing as much turf protection as they can.

“It’s pretty much all the material we can get in the Lower Mainland, and it’s enough to cover the area that we need, so it’s going to be about the same, or maybe a little more this year,” he says.

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“We’re hoping with our turf protection, and with the good weather, that any shutdown in the park is as short and as painless as possible.”

With that many people being there, he says some damage to the grass is inevitable.

“But we’re really hoping we won’t have to see Sunset park closed at all,” he says.

It’s going to take most of the day to set everything up. After the event warps up, they’ll begin clearing up Saturday night and finish up the next morning. The goal is to have the park back to normal on Sunday.

Larsen expects there to be some early risers at the celebration tomorrow, with people showing up as early as 4:20 a.m.

4/20 should move away from protest roots: mayor

Meanwhile, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says he’d like to see the event move away from its protest roots and transform into more of a festival that draws visitors to the city.

“What I would really like is to get it to a permitable status, where we could make this work in a way that moves it away from the confrontational protest-type of vibe to celebration, and actually trying to build the industry here in Vancouver,” he says.

A similar event called Hempfest is held in Seattle every August.

Organizers there commissioned an economic study that found patrons spent 7.1 million dollars U-S in the surrounding county.