Report From VegFest 2010, And A Veg-Festive Giveaway!

September 21st, 2010 - filed under: Furthermore » Reviews

Damn you, horrible fluorescent overhead convention hall lighting, damn you!!!

Seriously guys, I was so. excited. about this event! After last year’s amazing experience, and with one more year of veganism under my belt, one more year making connections in this community, with bigger dreams and my creative brain just buzzing with energy, it all seemed like a magical opportunity. And it didn’t disappoint!

This years festival saw nearly 5,000 attendants ad spanned the entire weekend – two whole days filled with inspiring workshops, lectures, cooking demonstrations, consultations, and of course the exhibitors. Clothing, books, gadgets and gizmos, kitchen wares, kids wear, exercise gear, health and wellness and whocaresaboutallthatbecauseohmygodthefood!

Yes, the food. The edible exhibitors had me nomming on:

Amy’s Kitchen
The Better Bean Company
Blossoming Lotus
Bob’s Red Mill
Bragg Live Food Products
Chez Gourmet
Chicago Soydairy
Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss
CuisineMentor: Spice Blends
Dave’s Killer Bread
Dr. Kracker
Eat My Cheese by Heidi Ho Organics
Earnest Eats
Emerald Valley Kitchen
Equal Exchange
Food for Life
Galaxy Nutritional Foods
Garden Protein International
Genesis Juices
Grow Your Family Healthy
Living Harvest Foods
Lotus Foods
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods
Marilyn’s Nut Butters
Numi Organic Tea
Pacific Natural Foods
Papa G’s Vegan Organic’s
Portobello Vegan Trattoria
Pulmuone Wildwood
The Red & Black Cafe
Theo Chocolate
Toby’s Family Foods
Turtle Island Foods
Turtle Mountain
Ultima Replenisher
V-dog Food
Vege Thai
Vita Café
Wayfare’s We Can’t Say It’s Cheese
Wilderness Poets
Xocai the Healthy Chocolate

Not to mention the non-edible-but-equally-awesome vendors! Like Veg News, my pals at Herbivore Clothing, Team Grumpy over at Food Fight!, and the lovely Miss Natalie of Thora Thinks and Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice. Just to name a few!

Oprah’s vegan chef, Tal Ronnen, during his demo. (image credit)

This year I [reluctantly] decided to skip the speakers and structure, and devote all my time to the main floor. I had people to meet and goodies to eat! Which is exactly what I did.

I definitely noticed some differences between the previous year and this one. 2009 saw a lot of raw options, a lot of ice creams, and more in the way of candies. This year focused on heartier fare, with an exceptionally inflated number of new cheese options! From the groundbreaking Daiya (featured in Amy’s Kitchen rice Mac ‘n Cheese – omg yum!) to the incredible reformulated Teese, to the finally vegan rice slices, to the super duper dippable We Can’t Say It’s Cheese, to the new local (and carbon neutral) Eat My Cheese. 2010 was the year of vegan cheese!

There were also a few new meats on the scene, the most notable from Gardein Garden Protein. I tried the ‘beef tips’ and I have to say, wow they got a good texture there! Maybe a bit too authentic . . . But it was great stuff, and showcased well alongside the old standby’s like Tofurkey and Wildwood.

Super rad tin lunch box from Tofurkey’s Turtle Island.

I had such a blast at this event, and I just want to extend a huge Thank You to everyone who made that happen. Thanks to NW VEG for coordinating, thanks to all the awesome people (the sweetest in the world!) that make up our vegan community, thanks to eFriends and Bonzai readers I met in real life, and to old friends I reconnected with, and to new friends I made. Yes, I’m a sap full of gratitude, so thank you thank you thank you all!


Now, what’s a great event without schwag?? And oh yes, I got lots of it, with extra generous contributions from Vega, Wilderness Poets, Manitoba Harvest, Xocai the Healthy Chocolate, and Chicago Soydairy. I’ve taken all this goodness and constructed three unique gift bags, which I’m giving away to three Bonzai readers!

To enter, just leave a comment on this post. Let me know if you’re
a) veg-curious/newbie veg
b) an athlete
c) a parent/somebody with kids in your life
d) none of the above

To gain a second chance to win, tweet about this contest and then leave an extra comment linking to the tweet!

*** Sorry to my international crew, but this contest is for US residents only. Boo! Sorry guys.***

To the rest of you – Good Luck!
And to VegFest, well, I’ll see you next year my friend!

  • Kelly H.


    I was there so, while I would still LOVE a goodie bag, feel free to pick someone else if my name pops up.

    Thanks Say!

  • Farmingtheburbs

    All of the above!

  • emily

    a – newbie veg (kind of – 1 year) and c – not a parent, but i am a social worker/case manager for children.

  • Rachel

    A(veg curious) & C (a parent)

  • Joselle

    I’m a vegan who isn’t a athelete, unless you count yoga and walking my dog like crazy and taking public transit with some weight lifting thrown in. And, not a parent (yet) but I am going to school to be a nurse-midwife. :)

  • angie

    i’m mostly veg with a newfound interest in raw foods! vegfest sounds fabulous! thank you!

    stinksopurdy at gmail dot com

  • Kristen711

    Well – I am an A & C! I am a veg-curious mama – we have been dabbling in vegetarian fare 3-4 nights a week for several months now, I’ve just been scared to take the big plunge!

    Alas, I have no twitter – but, I will share this on my facebook :)

    PS. – I have been reading your blog since February 2010 – I stumbled upon it when looking for homemade deodorant – and your recipe rox!

  • Allison

    d) None of the above but I almost might qualify as a super amateur athlete (in other words I just try to be active).

    You are so lucky to live in a city that has so many vegans and such a great community for them. San Diego really sucks in terms of vegan community except Ocean Beach which is probably at least a 30 minute drive from my house. My boyfriend and I are thinking of moving to Portland sometime in the next couple of years. Someday I might put together an email asking you a couple of questions, if you wouldn’t mind…

  • Kristen711

    See? I really FB’d it! Sorry I totally suck and just don’t have a twitter :(

  • Allison
  • Kathryn

    Yay! I have some friends from the Veggie-Might club here at UPS that went down down for the fun. I wish I could have gone, but homework is a liiiittle bit higher on my priorities haha.
    I guess I’m a newbie veg…? Although I’ve been veggie years, vegan is fairly new, only a few months old. :)

  • Ashley R

    c!! I’m a mommy with a little boy that loves his veggies! :)

  • Christina Almond

    Hi! Gosh…I guess I would most be C as I am a parent! I am very veg and vegan friendly for almost 15 years now!

    christinaalmond at gmail dot com

  • Christina Almond

    I tweeted about your giveaway:

    christinaalmond at gmail dot com

  • CharityMay

    i’m veg-curious ;) i have been very focused on incorporating a lot of raw into my diet this year. i love when you share what you have been eating. that always inspires me to get in the kitchen.
    i am also a parent with two brilliant boys to love.

  • Melisa

    Near-vegan athlete, mama to a toddler. (:

  • sarah

    Oooh chocolate!! Lol… I do believe I’m a d. ;)

  • Meghan

    I am none of the above!

    Well, it depends on your definition of athlete. I certainly wouldn’t describe myself as one, but I do crazy things like the Sierra Club’s One Day Hike, and I hash, both of which are vaguely athletic…

  • Virginia

    Hello! I am a C – a parent to two children. Both have Crohn’s disease and one also has Celiac Disease so we have purchased Amy’s food products and Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flours. Daughter does eat lots of vegetables due to the gluten free diet.

  • Kaye

    A. I’m somewhat veg-curious. I just don’t care for meat much anymore…

  • Julie

    I don’t know how this happened, but I am … an athlete! I’ve been vegan for five years, and the athletic part came along at about Year Two of veganism.

  • Persephonae Velasquez

    I’m a newbie vegetarian :)

  • Cassandra G.

    I’d say I’m closest to ‘none of the above.’ I’ve been full-on veg for a while. I’m not very athletic (although, I am planning on training for a half-marathon soon!) And I don’t have kids (yet), but I am an aspiring children’s librarian. So if I had to pick a category, I guess ‘d’ would be closest! :)

  • Cassandra G.
  • Tara

    Veg-Fest sounds wonderful!

    I am a new vegan (8 months and loving it!), vegetarian for 5 years. I am somewhat of an athlete, as a yoga instructor. No kids currently, but about to start trying (yay!). So I guess I’m an A,B,C.

  • Jen

    A. I incorporate veggie cuisine into my noms. I eat less meat than I used to. Vegetarian food is nom-licious and my husband is curious about it.

  • Sayward

    @ Kayci – We must have passed each other, I was there most of Sunday as well! =D

    @ Tenise Rae – True!

    @ RawJoy – Grandkids, wow and yay! I love hearing that we have such diversity in our readers. =)

    @ Krystle Rose – Ohmigod as a newish veg you are going to have SO much fun eating in P-town!

    @ Callie & Kati- Cheese is the sticking point for so many people, so you’re not alone! The good news is that there’s some seriously seriously amazing options coming out these days.

    @ windycityvegan – Dr. Cow wasn’t there and I’ve actually never tried it!

    @ MathTutor – Oprah did a month-long vegan cleanse, and now she just keeps a vegan chef around because she’s Oprah. ;-D

    @ Kelly H – Oh, too bad I missed you!

    @ Kristin711 – Don’t be scared! Take the plunge, it feels soooo good! =D

    Thanks so much everyone! Contest closes midnight tonight so tell your friends to enter too, and don’t forget the tweets (Facebook also counts!) Good luck all! My favorite part is picking winners, such fun to be able to do that. I’ll post them tomorrow morning!

  • Felicia

    Let’s see, I guess I would be considered C) because I am a preggo veggie, even though ohmygoodness I haven’t used the term ‘parent’ yet! Crazy!

    I would also say A) because although I have been a vegetarian for 5 years, I am currently starting my gradual change into veganism. Its so exciting!

  • Catnip

    Parent of a lovely 5 year-old!

  • veggiejess

    C. Mama to a healthy vegan 2 1/2 old girl!

  • Melissa L.

    So, so glad that you were able to attend VegFest 2010. Thanks for the action reporting with baby in tow.

    To answer your questions: I am A. veg-curious, B. Does keeping up with a two year old qualify me as an athlete? C. Yep, I am a mom of six yellow- haired younglings.

    Thank you!

  • Saundra

    Is it still midnight there? If so I’m a and d. If not oh well maybe next time that’ll teach me to not look at the page everyday lol

  • Saundra

    I meant a and c, oops lol

  • Sayward

    Thanks so much everyone! The contest is now closed. =)

  • Kelly H.

    Food ramblings…
    I brought home some Chicago Teese. The Nacho- flavored version made excellent nachos last night and the cheddar makes the best mac-n-cheese. I think Daiya is better for pizza, but Follow Your Heart will always have my heart for flavor. Althoooooough…have you ever had Sheese from Scotland? Their flavors and consistencies are pretty amazing…

    My absolute favorite food item at the VegFest was the iddy-biddy “burger” served in a cup by Vita Cafe. YUM! I thought Gardein had the tastiest meat alternative and Luna & Larry’s had my favorite “ice cream.”