EAU CLAIRE — The Eau Claire Village Council has given its stamp of approval to organizers of a hemp festival.

Village Clerk Shawn Foster reported Tuesday that village council members voted to approve the festival at their meeting Monday. The date for the festival has been set for Oct. 19 in downtown Eau Claire.

Festival organizer Rick Anstiss first brought his idea for the hemp festival to the council in June. “I’m excited that they approved the festival,” he said Tuesday. “Our goal is to turn around strong naysayers and have them open their eyes a little and see the benefits.”

Anstiss said the festival will promote CBD products and information about CBD and hemp as well as speakers and demonstrations with live plants. He noted that cannabis vendors will be invited to take part in demonstrations but not have cannabis on hand.

While some people have expressed concern about using the word “hemp” in the name of the festival, he doesn’t see it as a problem.

“I’m not worried about using the word ‘hemp.’ They approved the festival using that name,” he said. “But I do want to encompass more with this festival, to recognize all of farming and have a farmer’s market. We’ve also thought maybe of calling it a wellness or harvest festival. We want the name to be creative to draw people in but not offensive to people wanting to bring their children.”

Anstiss hopes to draw 40 to 50 vendors to the new festival to promote not only hemp and hemp-related products but also local farmers. He said the festival will be alcohol free and THC free.

“We want to make it a community day,” he said. He envisions the festival to be similar to the Cherry Festival held every year on July 4 as it will be on Main Street in the village and have children’s and family activities.

He said he welcomes people interested in helping plan the festival to be part of the festival organizing committee. He expects the committee to meet weekly up to the time of the festival. People can contact him at 944-9495 or visit the www.bchempcompany.com website or BC Hemp Company on Facebook or Instagram.

Anstiss is a grow and product development consultant with BC Hemp. The company has 40,000 hemp plants growing on 20 acres in the Eau Claire area. He noted that hemp and CBD oils have numerous purposes, ranging from being used in textile products to medicinal values.