Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mad City Vegan Fest Review

I am honestly torn on which direction I should write this post. This weekend was the first ever Mad City Vegan Fest here in Madison, WI. I was fortunate to attend with some friends despite the fact that it took place on father's day. My fellow vegan friend and I were able to drag our husbands and kids in tow to the vegan fest during the afternoon hours. There were some great things about the first ever vegan fest, but there were many negatives as well.

So, we shall start with the bad and end with the good!  The picture below kinda says a lot from our first steps into the venue.  Yep, it was packed to the gills!  (must mention I am not photographer, just someone with a point and shoot hoping to get a decent shot, sorry for not getting better pictures)  From the organizers standpoint this is a fantastic thing you want to happen especially for a first time event.  But for an attendee with cranky and tired little ones, it was not really ideal.  Luckily, my two year old slept through most of it on daddy's shoulder and my five year old just went with the flow eager to find the next sample to taste test.

The place was too small for all the people there and getting from one table to the next seemed like an eternity.  There were probably around 15 or so vendors and a few with food samples.  But there wasn't anything spectacular about the food samples (Tofurky, seitan, "cheese" samples to name a few).  Vendors actually selling food was beyond overpriced.  I would never buy a bag of six vegan cookies for $8, that is just crazy to me, especially being on a budget.  Which brings me to another thing that bugged me was the astounding high prices for vegan food samples vendors were selling.  Being that I am almost to my one year anniversary being vegan, the prices made vegans look like we have money coming out of our ears that we can afford food like that.  Wish there was a table mentioning how vegans can eat budget friendly healthy foods and still reap the benefits of a healthy vegan lifestyle.  Also never noticed anything about how to become vegan.  If I had not a clue about veganism or how to start to become vegan, there was nothing around to find this information.  I did see a lady carrying around a "How to Become a Vegetarian" booklet, but have no idea where she picked it up as I was looking at every table and found nothing. 

An interesting viewpoint from my five year old was trying to explain the clientele at the vegan fest.  As I try to say this as polite as possible, but veganism can be seen as an alternative lifestyle of sorts.  Which is why I had to explain to him why some girl was wearing safety pins in her nose when he asked or about the studded outfits and jewelry were all about that some guys were sporting.  It was definitely a place to people watch for sure!  

But on the bright side, there were hundreds of people that showed up that the organizers weren't expecting.  They even had vendors wanting to participate, but had to turn away as they just didn't have the space at the venue.  I know the organizers worked their butt off to pull this off and if I were them, I would be ecstatic on the response.  Now, they just need to find a bigger venue and hopefully have a table of information on general veganism for next year.  Plus, if I go next year, I am going with other fellow vegans and leaving the hubby and kids at home so I can attend the speakers as well!  Yes, mixed reviews, but I am looking forward to next years to see if they improve or not.  Until next year Mad City Vegan Fest!

My two year old napping on daddy's shoulder during Vegan Fest!

My unhappy 5 year old not wanting his picture taken in front of the sign.

1 comment:

  1. I would love to attend a vegan vest, but we don't have anything like that where I live. I'm sure I would be like a fish out of water at one, but it would be neat to be able to check out at least once. You would think that they would have vegan info right as you walk in...strange. I bet next year will be better since this was their first one.
    Your kids are so cute!
    Oh, I'm a vegan on a budget too, and I can't see paying those high prices either, which I don't. :o)