A steady stream of thousands flowed on the University Yard area at George Washington University from to participate in another successful DC VegFest. DC VegFest ran from 11a to 6p, and attracted everyone from the most stringent vegan to the most confirmed carnivore to sample and learn about vegan dishes and products of over 70 local exhibitors. Also, some of the District’s best vegetarian options were on display.
Burrito Bandits, Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, Amsterdam Falafel Shop, Bread & Brew, l Shop, Cafe Green, Vegan Treats Bakery, Saveur India, Bakeshop, Mojo Juice, Nourish Market, Curry Mantra, Dama Ethiopian and Pastry, Sweet & Natural were just a fraction of the area businesses present.
Capital Spice, a DC food blog ranked number 1 by Urbanspoon, selected a winner in their DC VegFest competition. Washington local, Jessica, who won $10 worth of veggie treats.
“The Vegetarian Society of DC and Compassion Over Killing hit a home run with this event,” said David Appell, who thought the threat of rain might keep people away, “There was a healthy crowd of people, I’m impressed.”
One of the highlights of the event was the constant activity at the Pangea Food Products booth. Event attendees were constantly dropping by to pick up some of their popular products. Items like Vegan Marshmallows and Primal Strips Vegan Jerky were flying off the racks.
Pangea Food Products first opened in 1995, and is known as the first company in the metro area to offer high-quality and cruelty-free vegan products. The company started in Bethesda and in 2000, relocated to Rockville, Maryland.
“Pangea is the original one-stop vegan shop,” said employee Quinn Attika, who managed the booth. “People shouldn’t be discouraged that we’re in Rockville because we are metro accessible.”
Attika also mentioned that she enjoyed the event and really enjoyed seeing the crowd that has turned out to either by vegan products or learn more about the industry.
“Look at how many people are here; definitely more than last year,” she mentioned as throngs of attendees passed by.
Another vendor was Good + Kind, owned by Heather Blakesee. Good + Kind makes distributes lip balm that is fair trade friendly and organic. The balm is uses no tree nut products, and is free of carmine and beeswax. Good + Kind’s product has no chemical colours or sweeteners, and comes in a variety of all natural flavours. Blakesee used the DC VegFest to unveil two new flavours: Eleanor’s Butterscotch and Baikal Chai.
Her daughter Grace Blakesee, who runs a vegan blog, said, “Its fun to be out here and see others who feel the same way.”
Heather Blakesee’s son said, “I like it here – its fun.”
Kristen, with DCVegan.org, blogged, “It was a fun, event filled day with amazing speakers, sponsors and exhibitors, not to mention tons of delicious vegan food from local vendors. I walked away with three full bags stuffed with free swag, colorful t-shirts, informational pamphlets, giveaways, pins, stickers, a sneak peek of Isa Chandra Moskowitz‘s unreleased cookbook Vegan Pie in the Sky, a belly full of vegan treats, an adorable designer vegan jacket for the winter by Leanne at Vaute Couture, and of course, a to-go tub of vegan nacho cheese from the Burrito Bandits.”
“This is awesome,” said Candice Wright, a Takoma Park resident. “There are tons of vendors selling great food and clothing products, and also promoting good causes. I don’t know how VegFest is going to outdo themselves next year.”
Returning ctizen Orlando Tyson attended the event and had bags of items. “I got as much as my wallet would allow and my bags could hold.”
Foggy Bottom resident Pamela Christie said, “I live around the corner and always come to check out what they have here. This year was great. I saw Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who always puts out a great cookbook, and listened to Wayne Pacelle too.” Moskowitz is a veteran vegan author and Pacelle is the President and CEO of Humane Society.
The GW Campus paper The Hatchet reported GW alumn Dawn Moncrieffe, founder and executive director of A Well-Fed World, said in part, “…there is a power to change policy…as students graduate and go into their fields, that impact can trickle down.”
The Hatchet also reported that Vegetarian Society of D.C. President Saurabh Dalal said that those who attended the event could “feel great about how easy it is to be a vegetarian today.”
It seemed apparent that the organization has outgrown the location (H Street, NW, between 21st and 22nd Streets, NW).
Executive Director of Compassion Over Killing Erica Meier, said, “We might have to consider moving our location for next year. Due to space concerns, we sadly had to turn away a few organizations; so space is definitely going to be an issue for next year.”
It should be important to note that Meier [along with DJ Kim of Java Green] had been influential in helping NBC 4 anchor, animal lover, and DC VegFest presenter Wendy Krieger to becoming a vegetarian three years ago.
If you missed DC VegFest, don’t worry, you can travel up I-95 to attend the 1st Annual Vegtoberfest set to kick off on Sunday, October 9th at Riverside Park in south Baltimore. Karen Davis, PhD, author and President of United Poultry Concerns and Donna M. Beaudoin, author and vegan blogger will be giving presentations among others.