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!

  • Jordan

    c) former teacher, current nanny, hopeful parent-to-be *someday :)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Kayci

    b) vegan athlete!

    i went to veg fest on sunday and it was awesome!!

  • steph

    I’m a sort of A.

    I’m mostly vegetarian, and have been for more than 15 years, but I’ve been getting more and more into it lately and am dabbling more with vegan proteins and raw foods. And it’s, of course, fabulous.

    Vegfest sounds yummy. :)

  • Kate

    a) I extremely limit my meat intake…I would be veg-curious I suppose
    b) heck yeah!
    c) not mine, but my best friend has a few ;)

  • Kate
  • michelle

    ahhh! this sounds amazing! so many vendors we LOVE! a giveaway with vega aaaand xocai?!! we just ran out of our vega chocolate protein shake powder and our box of delicious xocai gloden nuggets (my fiance’s mom was all about it for a while…the first time we’ve ever had “breakfast chocolates”!)…well…i hope i win cause this sounds pretty great! ;)

  • Tenise Rae

    Well I used to be a veg……so, I suppose that doesn’t count huh? I have dreams of being a veg again some day. Long story…..

    So I guess I would have to claim myself as a “c) Parent.” Most wonderful thing I could ever claim myself to be anyway, amiright? LOL!!

  • Tenise Rae


  • Minna

    Oh how I wish we had a festival like that! And a vegan community! It’s something beyond my wildest dreams. But I’ll try not to get too jealous – I’m happy YOU had such a good time! Haha :D

  • Erin

    c) a teacher! (And keeping fingers crossed for kids of our own…)

  • Christa

    Vegetarian! For 6+ years.

    I’ve had the Dave’s Killer Bread before – and it holds up to it’s name! My sister-in-law lives in Portland and every time my mother-in-law visits her she brings me back a loaf. Always delicious.

  • Kathryn

    a) veg-curious would be the best label. I’ve eschewed red meat and poultry for a long time, but I haven’t given up fish, eggs, dairy, etc.
    b) I wouldn’t really call myself an athlete unless you count stretching the mind as a sport ;)
    c) I’m not a parent, but I do have the most amazing kids in my family, and I absolutely adore them.

  • Nina

    To enter, just leave a comment on this post. Let me know if you’re

    a) veg-curious/newbie veg – veg curious, mainly I stay away from all meat at restaurants and mainstream meat if that makes sense.

    b) an athlete – I run?

    c) a parent/somebody with kids in your life – Nope!

    d) none of the above


  • Neko

    Definitely “C” for me, as my two kids will attest :)

  • RawJoy

    Hey – I’m in!!

    a) probably 80% raw, 97-98% vegan
    b) nope – can’t walk acoss the room without falling
    c) 2 kids, 3 stepkids, all of their spouses, and 7 grandkids.


  • Krystle Rose

    Wish I could have gone! We’re taking a vacation to Portland in October. Bummer, should have planned ahead.

    Me – Veg since May – Owned by a cat

    Retweeted: @krystleroses

  • windycityvegan

    A, B and C for me!

    a) I’m a vegan, have been veg*n for over 20 years now.

    b) I’m a distance runner, and I am also a marathon coach (and proud to say that one of my current runners is training for her first half while transitioning to a vegan diet under my guidance. :D

    c) veg*n daughter and 99% veg*n partner

  • windycityvegan

    A, B and C for me!

    a) I’m a vegan, have been veg*n for over 20 years now.

    Thanks for offering this giveaway!
    b) I’m a distance runner, and I am also a marathon coach (and proud to say that one of my current runners is training for her first half while transitioning to a vegan diet under my guidance. :D

    c) veg*n daughter and 99% veg*n partner

  • littlegreenlady

    c) Parent and would like to raise my young one the way I was. In an animal friendly, mother earth loving way.

  • Singh

    x a) Not a newbie veg
    x b) Not a super commando athlete
    x c) No babies, kids, and/or goats.
    d) none of the above

  • windycityvegan

    Whoops, I guess A does not apply to me. Also, I meant to add Thank You! for hosting a giveaway. I think that’s why my first post went up twice, since I tried to change it after hitting >>submit. Sorry about that!

  • Callie

    Definitely A. And thanks for the rundown on the fest. I absolutely have to try some of those cheese options, since that’s one of the big things standing in the way of me making the veggie to vegan transition fully.

  • Elizabeth

    A! Definitely vegetarian, working on becoming 100% vegan. BTW I loved your facebook post today (yesterday?)

  • denielle

    Veg Fest looks like a blast. The response that best applies to me is D) none of the above. I’ve been vegan for a little over 1 year now, have been slacking on my workouts lately, and have no children.

  • windycityvegan

    One more thing – did they have any Dr. Cow cheese?

  • Adrienne

    Totally a veg-newbie.

  • Anastasia

    I would say A & B for me. I’ve been vegetarian for ten years, but am transitioning into vegan. Also, I’ve just started taking fitness seriously by working out and really challenging myself & my body.

  • Anastasia
  • Cassie

    a little A – newbie, struggling vegan, always vegetarian – and mostly D – none of the above – a reoccurring answer in my life :)

    thanks for being completely awesome!

  • Kati

    a little A for me as well – vegetarian for 18 years, dabbling in raw vegan things! (It’s the cheese that gets me..always the cheese!)

  • Erin B.

    I am a C. 3 children under 4. Working things in our lives in a more healthy way, started w/ HFCS, 1 veg. nite a week…soon to be more.

  • Melissa C.

    Wee!! Hi Sayward!

    I’m veg-curious. I don’t like to eat meat with all of my meals, but I don’t know if I could ever go all the way vegan… I L-O-V-E cheese.

    Good luck to everyone!

  • Eden

    I’m pregnant and a vegetarian mama!

  • Penelope

    “A” for me–I’ve been researching vegetarian/vegan alternatives for a while now and am slowly but surely making changes :)

  • Geneva

    a) Was veg for 17 years, not anymore, but raw curious now
    b) an athlete…no but I have done a marathon!
    c) no kids

  • miss ellie

    i am veg curious…. since im a poor college student, i have a flexitarian diet because of how expensive meet is (and the fact that raw meet grosses me out). i would totally love to find more ways to cook the things i can afford and some new things i’ve never tried before

  • Cary M

    Vegan with a new baby girl. Everyone tells me how amazingly alert and developed she is, I tell them it’s because she’s a vegan baby.

  • Kristie

    I’m a) and c)!

  • Jill

    B and C for me. I do eat meat, but I’m very picky about where it comes from.

  • Kelly Platko

    a. almost veg..haha, hopefully soon to be all :)

  • Valerie

    well I am both

    A-vegan curious, I’ve been vegetarian for almost 3 years
    B-An Athlete

  • MathTutor

    OoOooooo, cheese! nom nom nom!
    I’m a pescatarian 3 days a month, vegetarian always, and somedays vegan :)
    I’m also an athlete…but no kiddos! =P

    Keep up the good work Sayward I love your blog!

  • Melissa F.

    A.) i have been MOSTLY veggie for the past few years. I am very mindful of the products I use and the food I eat…doesn’t mean I don’t slip up but I usually regret it after. I feel gross eatting a once living being. As for dairy, been phasing out cheese pretty unsucsessfully. Milk is a hard one because of cereal….eggs I rarely eat but when I o they are from my neighbors hen’s (they’re 4H peeps).
    I’m as work in progress like everyone I suppose but I feel happy about it, knowning I try.

    Also kind of C.) I have my 6 year old nephew who I adore and I always like to show him as much variety in life as possible. We go to the farmers marketand he LOVES veggies and when I have the extra dough we’re going to a nearby Veg*n restaurant and he’s actually excited <3 lol

    geez sorry for the life story. +) glsd you had a good time at the convention though And thanks for thinking about us all wih the giveaway.

  • MathTutor

    Oprah is vegan? Or does she just tote around a vegan chef cause she’s Oprah????

  • Donna Mae

    c) a parent/somebody with kids in your life

    And my daughter is a vegetarian since last November and it has been rough, especially since her mother is just learning. I push her to be healthy not just substituting it for chips and other meatless no-nos:)

  • Gail from Turtle Mountain

    I’m so sorry I missed you when you stopped by our table! But it certainly sounds like you had a very delicious time at VegFest! It was so much fun, wasn’t it? Please let’s make it a point to connect next year!

  • Leslie Cao

    I limit my meat and dairy intake and I’m interested in a completely whole foods diet.
    I’m on a tennis team as an athlete
    I have a 9 year old brother who has a terrible diet :( and I’d love to introduce him to more healthy foods that “don’t taste bad.” He’s kinda picky…

  • Sitara Bird

    Kind of B?

    I practice yoga and I hoopdance! I’ve been vegan for just over 3 years and it’s slowly making it’s way into influencing my parents and siblings! Both yoga and veganism!


  • Jessica

    a) Curious!
    b) Soccer mom count?
    c) Yes!

  • Rasa

    d) interested in learning about ways to be more green in my life, trying to incorporate more veggies and less meat into my diet, love being inspired by your stories, recipes, pictures, thoughts, etc.