“That’s my kind of Tupperware party!” exclaimed a friend on Instagram after I posted an image of a table covered in bongs, grinders, vaporizers, stash canisters, and nugs. This was my first time at a HAPPY Parties event and I was excited to document my findings. Unlike direct sales parties of yesterday, these enterprising shindigs feature cutting-edge cannabis technology with an emphasis on education while getting stoned in the comfort of your living room. I wonder what Earl Silas Tupper would think if he were alive today.
Founders Terri Nopp and Amber Tippets originally called it Host A Pot PartY but decided to use the acronym HAPPY after the banks refused to work with them for using the word pot. “The idea came about last year while I produced the Portland Advertising Federation’s 2nd Annual Pot Marketing event and heard about caregivers going into homes, educating medical users on cannabis,” said Terri. She and Amber are the people friends and family call when they have canna-questions. It’s easy to see why. Both women were engaging and speaking with authority as they gave a brief lecture on the history of the plant, plus tips on how to consume safely while customizing your high. Attendees sat attentively during the speech, eyes darting between infographics propped against the wall, our kind hostesses, and an impressive glass bong collection lined up along the mantel.
Once the presentation ended, everyone was eager to sample the strains. The energy in the room was high-spirited as we alternated between visits to the refreshments table for snacks and trips to the accoutrement table for cannabis. After sipping on lemonade and nibbling on cookies, I tried the Crafty vaporizer packed with Purple Kush while chatting with another first-timer named Kirk, a grower who was kind enough to provide cannabis for the evening. Also, I played with a Pretty Lady lipstick lighter, inspected a glow-in-the-dark Cheshire Cat pipe, and examined crystalline buds under a magnifying glass.
Guests Brooklyn and T, both new to Portland, discovered the festivities via Eventbrite and were pleased to learn so much despite being avid smokers for many years. “We thought this would be a fun introduction to the Portland cannabis scene,” T said with a grin. Oftentimes, HAPPY Parties are comprised of friends and friends of friends. However, this event was open to the public. Marijuana was our ice-breaker.
“Wanna try the HVY loop-neck bong?” Amber asked sweetly. “Yes, but I’m saving room for the Eyce ice bong,” I replied. Terri made a bee-line for the freezer. We gathered ’round as she struggled to push the frozen instrument out of the tight, silicone mold. After several minutes of wrestling with the contraption, she held the frozen water pipe up like a trophy. We all stood in awe. “This was my first time filling the mold, so I infused it with lavender flowers,” Amber beamed.
Everyone was gracious enough to allow me the first frigid hit loaded with the earthy sweetness of Mandala, an African Highland hybrid. I haven’t owned a bong in many years, so as the icy smoke filled my lungs I knew the impact would be fierce. Despite the smooth pull, I found myself coughing and gasping for air. I held the frosty vessel out for someone to grab, giggling while searching for equanimity. I took a seat at the countertop and, with heavy eyelids, watched the others take turns.
Dazed and smiley, the whirr of a Gourmia Masticating Slow Juicer caught my attention. Terri had just returned from her outdoor garden with a fistful of cannabis leaves and was slowly feeding them to the machine. “Drinking cannabis juice reduces inflammation,” she disclosed while we sipped the frothy, spicy beverage. Then, Amber noticed the ice bong melting on the counter. “Let’s smash it in the driveway,” she encouraged. T, Brooklyn, Kirk, Amber, and I stood in a circle, waiting for the right moment to drop the bong. “On your mark, get set, go!” I cheered with my finger on the record button.
We played back the video in slow motion several times before it got old. It was getting late. I called my Uber and said my goodbyes. Attendees were scurrying about the living room, searching for goodies to purchase before heading back out into the warm summer night. “I could see this being super fun for a bachelorette party,” I suggested. Terri agreed, then handed me a Pretty Poker decorated with beads as a gift. Grateful, I asked about her vision for the future.
“We see HAPPY going nationwide!” Terri replied. “We want to change the ‘bongs and butt’ conversation to one of ‘design and experience.’ People should have aesthetically pleasing appliances and gadgets that go beyond the leaf, like incorporating cooking and gardening into the experience. The world is moving beyond the stoner mentality and HAPPY Parties are a great experience to help with the evolution.”