Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Honfest takes over Hampden this weekend, but not without some controversy. Debate over festival rules and trademarking continues.
Gigi Barnett explains that’s causing some to boycott the annual street event.
Honfest is Hampden’s celebration of the quirky, beehive and boa-wearing Baltimore hon.
“This is my second year, hon. I don’t go down the ocean anymore. I come down to Honfest,” said one attendee.
Every year, the street festival draws thousands. But this year, some boycotted it. They’re against Honfest creator Denise Whiting’s list of rules sent to vendors earlier this month. Already upset that Whiting took out a copyright against almost every play on the word “Hon,” protesters say the letter crossed the line because street vendors can’t sell anything with the “hon” logo.
“This is our word. This is our city and now it’s owned by one person,” said one protester.
Even cat eye glasses are on the do-not-sell list.
“It is not unusual for a festival to have exclusivity, whether it be bottled water or whatever the product is,” Whiting said.
Earlier this week, Whiting met with vendors, promising changes to the list. But she added that the rules were written to protect the festival.
“You want to make it unique and fun for each and every individual who comes here. If they go and see the same booth of things over and over again, it gets old,” she said.
Even with a boycott planned, Whiting says she still expects to see the same amount of people who attended last year’s Honfest. That’s about 60,000 during the two-day event.
When it comes to profits, Whiting says Honfest breaks even every year.