Two years ago, I was invited to attend the first ever Vegan Street Fair in North Hollywood, CA. I was in the middle of grad school, I had mermaid hair, Waits had just turned 5, Jeremy had just opened Still. It was wild times!
Vegan Street Fair is put on by my friend Jess, and she has been busting her butt every second since that first day, to make this event as amazing as possible. There was a second annual Street Fair last spring (which I wasn’t able to attend), as well as well as VSF Nights, a boozy music party back in September (also sadly unattended by me).
The first Vegan Street Fair had an expected attendance of 3-5,000, but instead, 10,000 vegans and veg-curious folks turned up that day to par-tay. Then the second year, they prepared for 15,000 people, but were flooded with more than 20k. And this year?
This year 30,000 people filled multiple city blocks in the heart of North Hollywood, and it was awe-inspiring.
Seriously. When I arrived and saw how much space there was — block after block just completely lined on both sides with booths of vegan food from all over southern California, speakers blasting music up and down the entire stretch, smiling faces all around . . . well guys, I actually teared up. What an incredible event! What wonderful vegan outreach (VSF is free).
As I was preparing to write this post, I went back and I read the blog I wrote after the very first Vegan Street Fair. And I found this passage:
And last weekend’s Vegan Street Fair was no exception. It was packed – and I mean overly-packed, haha, but that’s a good thing right? – with people from all walks of life. Very old and very young, all colors and backgrounds, hipsters and hippies and families and squares, and everything in between. Basically, it was a wide cut of the general overall LA populace, and to me that means just one thing:
Vegan has gone mainstream!
And I have to say, that’s still my favorite thing about Vegan Street Fair. Where other vegan events seem to target a very narrow demographic (ages 18-35, majority women, predominantly white, middle class) (which then drives the visual representation of veganism in general, in the mainstream), Vegan Street Fair is an event that breaks out of all those constraints. There are people of all ages and backgrounds, and it’s such a more inclusive, more representative experience of the vegan community.
The day ended with an amazing performance from vegan hip hop artist Grey (check out his video, it’s hysterical!), which was the perfect icing on a delicious cake of a day.