So! One week ago I was fortunate enough to be at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center for the BVFF, snapping pictures and sampling samples, as promised. If I had to sum up my experience in one word and “awesome” was prohibited, it would be: “crowded”! Seriously, you’d think that the additional day would have lessened the volume a bit, but it was packed to the max in there. I couldn’t actually walk between the rows of booths without bumping up against people on both sides. Observe:
Even this is, however, awesome, since wall-to-wall veggies sends the message that this is a growing movement in the mainstream. Maybe next year the festival can be extended to three days — or, better yet, given a larger venue. We can hope.
There were all manner of veggie-related booths there, from the ridiculously healthy…
…to the ridiculously unhealthy:
Among some of my favorite vendors in attendance were Larabar, Numi Tea, Café Indigo, Chicago Soy Dairy (maker of Teese Cheese and Dandies Marshmallows), Mary’s Gone Crackers, Nature’s Path, and Peace O’ Pie… though there were SO many more (see full list here). There seemed to be a good mixture of local and national sponsors. The speakers lineup was also impressive, though I didn’t make it to any of the talks — too crowded in there!
Probably my favorite new discovery was May Wah, a fake meat supplier…which surprised me, since I’m not all that into the fake meat thing. Maybe it was the gazillion delicious samples they offered (check link above for pics of that) that swayed me. In fact, a few clicks around the Internet reveals that May Wah is pretty ubiquitous, so I’ve probably eaten their stuff before in a restaurant.
Not all the booths were food and beverage vendors — most were, sure, but festivalgoers also got to peruse a wide selection of books, clothes, shoes, and even places to go on retreat. If there was a vegan sample, though, you bet I was on it! From to salads to hummus to seaweed snacks to “cheese” to raw cookies to tea to several different kinds of chocolate. In fact, after tasting samples from nearly every food vendor that offered one (which was basically all of them), I didn’t even have room for lunch! Which is really too bad, since the freshly prepared food options were tremendous.
Even after eating to the point of fullness, I still had these samples left in my bag when I got home!
If you went, I hope you had as much fun as I did! If you didn’t make it — make sure you go next year ;)