Words by Shelton Hull
Like many longtime cannabisseurs (at least the sane, honest ones), I was thoroughly confused by dabs when all that first became a thing some years back. My tastes were simple, pedestrian even: a toke here, a bong rip there, maybe a mouthful of THC gummies soaked in Manifest vodka on very special occasions, like WrestleMania or the election of Barack Obama. The first time I saw a dab rig, I had no idea what it was; maybe a glass bong made by someone who was already so high that they forgot what they were doing, which is something that does happen. Generally, the last things you want to be playing with when you’re high are red-hot glass, butane torches and nails. In #Florida, that usually means somebody’s in big trouble!
I’ve dabbled in dabs for years, always from a position fixed firmly on the periphery, for reasons both practical and professional. But once medical marijuana got started here in 2017, the overall profile of that product was boosted bigly, as dabs went from a relatively isolated gimmick used strictly by hard-core weedies to a legit category that is now easily found at pretty much every dispensary. Oil, wax, resin, shatter — they sound like names that juvenile delinquents give each other, and that’s no accident. Dabbing is for the kind of person for whom finger-blunts and office water cooler bottles just don’t cut it anymore. That used to mean a trip to rehab, but now it means a trip to re-up on concentrate, which is ironic, because the very last thing you’re gonna do after dabbing is concentrate on anything.
Dab dilettantes might be shocked to see how sophisticated this particular aspect of the culture has become, but we’ll all have a perfect opportunity to learn more about it on Oct. 28, when the annual Dab Day Halloween Festival takes place at The Glass Factory, a repurposed warehouse turned event space, nestled in the heart of the city’s Railyard District (601 N. Myrtle Ave.), right next to Myrtle Avenue Brewing, which is co-hosting.
I went to dabday.com to learn more, but that website is devoted to something called Draw A Bird Day. (It’s actually a beautiful story about a British girl named Dorie Cooper, who used bird drawings to comfort wounded soldiers in WWII. She was only 10 when she died, in 1946, and her memory is honored every year on her birthday, April 8. So before Dab Day, there was DAB Day, so let’s do our best to always be stoned for both.) Andy Franklin gave me that link, and now I understand why his smirk was even more impish than usual.
This column was also Andy’s idea, and it preempted the one that had already been written. We’ve both attended the event before, and both were prompted to do so by the late great Richard Bruce Borders, who was a key source for many of the nearly 200 “Folio” Weed columns published so far. The actual website is 710dabday.com. Why “710”? Because when you rotate it 180 degrees clockwise, you get “OIL”. The event runs from 4 p.m. to midnight with tickets ranging from $25 and $75. It’s worth going for the vendors alone.
Organized by Dab Day Productions (which also puts on the Florida Groves festival every April), the event is sponsored by Binske, Curaleaf, Dr. Dabber, Exotic Infusions, The Flowery Homestead, Goldleaf, Jungle Boys, Preferred Gardens and the Releaf Clinic, who will be there to assist anyone wanting to apply for a medical marijuana card. The rampant dabbery on-site will also include a costume contest, a haunted compound, food and drink trucks galore, clothing, arts and crafts (including live glassblowing) and live music from artists like Cloud 9 Vibes, Coastal Breed, Hour Glass Kids, Indigo I ft. Kevin Offitzer of Stick Figure, Kash’d Out and DJ Don Shula (not the Don Shula, who died in 2020).
Having grown up not far from that part of town, I’m really happy to see it being the subject of renewed focus and a unified effort to elevate its brand. Other businesses in and around the area include Lemonstreet Brewing Co., Eco Relics, Zebo’s Crab Shack, Standard Feed & Seed, Beaver Street Fisheries and the Jacksonville Farmers Market, all of which are great places to visit when you’re stoned and even when you’re not. Millions have been spent to stimulate pedestrian and bike traffic, and I’ll readily embrace any opportunity to gas up the homies (shout-out to Whalen James!), because their hard work is paying off, and their payoffs are working hard. “Folio” has been tight with all these places for years, and many of their people are friends, so hook them up!