Megs Burd offered four varieties of pie on a stick at the Denver County Fair in August 2013. (Photo By Karl Gehring/The Denver Post)

Denver County Fair: Major sponsors include 4-H and vape pen company

The Denver County Fair — which famously announced its inclusion of a pot pavilion and various marijuana competitions a few weeks ago — is inking sponsorship deals for its 2014 outing.

And the 2014 Fair’s first two major sponsors? The youth development organization 4-H Club and marijuana vaporizer pen company O.penVape.

What a pairing. And that’s part of the point.

“We’ll be in the fair with mainstream products and people having discussions about safety and answering lots of questions,” said Todd Mitchem, chief revenue officer and spokesperson for O.penVape. “I’m even bringing my kids, so it’s a new world.”

Related: An in-depth interview with Denver County Fair organizers about marijuana.

Denver County Fair director Dana Cain is thrilled with all the attention and press that followed her announcement of the pot pavilion.

“There will be plenty of marijuana-related activities, attractions, booths, etc,” she told The Cannabist in January. “We’ll have a great display of blue ribbon competition entries, which will include homemade bongs, roach clips, tie-dyes, hemp fabric, hemp garments … all homemade and entered by Colorado residents. The entries for best marijuana plants, best pot brownies, best savory marijuana dishes — those will all be judged offsite and will be represented by photos, and maybe the written recipes, at the fair.”

Cain’s response to O.penVape’s sponsorship: “We’re thrilled to be working with (O.penVape),” she said Feb. 12. “This is our fourth year, and we’ve never had a major sponsor at the $10,000 level. O.penVape is our very first one at that level. And while 4H isn’t giving us any money, we include them as a major sponsor even though they’re more of a partner because they do so much for us.”

As with many pro-marijuana activists, O.penVape’s sponsorship of the fair is as much about the conversation it will generate as it is anything else, Mitchem said.

“I had a great conversation with my 9-year-old the other night,” said Mitchem, “and he asked about marijuana being only for adults — something we’ve talked about before. So we went on talking about the health benefits, and I told him about CBD (cannabidiol).

“I really want to have the discussion about having the discussion – with our kids, with the people who don’t understand it, with the people who have a negative opinion about cannabis in general. That’s why I’m so happy this fair sponsorship happened — now we can have a discussion with the public about cannabis and its benefits and keeping kids safe.”