Encouraged by last year's incredible reception, the 2nd Annual SoCal VegFest was TWO DAYS this year! Rain or shine, it was an event to behold and we had a record number of attendees. Vegan or not, people of all ages gathered to learn, explore, share, and dance!
With more than 200 exhibitors filling the venue, along with the palm trees and grassy courtyard, it was nothing short of beautiful and exciting. Everything from artists and handcrafted items, community organizations and farmers, soap and body care, fresh pressed juice, novelty t-shirts, superfood chocolates, over 25 plant-based food and drink vendors with diverse cuisine, cooking demos, Kid’s Village, and a Peace & Quiet Zone — there was something for everyone!
SoCal VegFest did not disappoint for those who came hungry, we had TWO food courts this year to feed the vegans, vegetarians, farm-fresh foodies, and veg-curious folks. There were rows and rows of endless deliciousness in sight! We had everything from raw superfoods, corn dogs, funnel cake, ice cream, burritos, artisan coffee, and fresh pressed juices.
In addition to all of the amazing vendors, there were also a great number of non-profit organizations spreading their message. Attendees were empowered with lots of information on veganism, positive body image, animal rights, animal fostering & adoption, and environmental issues. It definitely engaged attendees and inspired people of all ages.
The entire day was packed full of activities. Expert and celebrity speakers and authors were on the Main Stage such as Gene Bauer, who shared insight on animal rescue and leading an authentic lifestyle. We had a few exciting panels on Vegan Athlete/Fitness Panel (Will Tucker, Seba Johnson, Matt Ruscigno, John Pierre, Kuntal Joisher), Animal Rights Legislation (Jane Velez-Mitchell, Simone Reyes, Judie Mancuso, Marc Ching), and Doctor’s speaking about plant-based foods (Dr. Heather Shenkman and Dr. Hans Diehl).
Our Speaker’s Hall had a range of topics from activism, to health care, to skin care. There was something for everyone to learn. We had Ellie Laks of the Gentle Barn, Ruby Roth (author of We Don’t Eat Animals), Lou Corona of IsWithin, Keith McHenry of Food Not Bombs, and Dr. Klaper via an online conference. We had wonderful feedback from attendees who were enthused to share the info with their friends + family.
The Cooking Demos were full of excitement and deliciousness. There were cookbook authors and celebrity chefs like Tanya Petrovna, Kaci Christian, Jason Wrobel, Amber St. Peter, and Joni Marie Newman. Our Peace & Quiet Zone held yoga sessions and insightful speakers shared their positive messages. Bhupendra Soneji and Lisa Levinson guided meditation, Suzanne “Butterfly” Strachan with qigong, Arlene Nicoletti with the monochord sound chair, Frances W. Greenspan on animal communication, and Khamadi Grimble on strength and peace. There was something new for everyone and a great atmosphere to engage learning from one another.
One of the coolest things about SoCal VegFest was that it was completely family-friendly. There was an entire Kid’s Village full of games and activities for children sponsored by Dr. Andy Mars and his organization VegKids. Andy and the kids he works with prove that Kids Make a Difference! Andy provides children the tools necessary to be effective advocates for animals and specifically designed resources for veg kids — such as a Vegan Camp! It was pretty amazing to see how many mini-vegans were enjoying the festivities. Really gives us hope for the future that we can all be kind and compassionate toward all beings!
And crowds cheered as they were entertained by musical guests such as Bliss Factory, Spirit Soul and Friends, Annette Conlon, Rio - A Tribute to Duran Duran, Elijah Bustos, Purple Mountains Majesties, and crowd favorite, Michael Jackson Impersonator - RemJ!
There was even a vegan cupcake competition sponsored by BigTentVegan. So much creative and talented individuals entered and it was super fun! There were two divisions: general and elite. The judges were Krysten Littles (Baby Love Sweetery), Daniel Mattos (Chef Director of Culinary Arts & Hospitality, OC School of Arts), and Jara Fonseca (Pastry Chef, Seabirds Kitchen). You can read more + check out all the photos at Big Tent Vegan.
This was an incredible event to say the least and would not have been possible without the handwork and dedication of our passionate team of volunteers! These folks poured their heart and souls into creating an unforgettable event that would be an inspiring, enriching, and, of course, fun day.
We are a non-profit and rely on donations + sponsorships to make this event happen. HUGE thanks to our sponsors: Vegan Printer, Alova, Castle Rock Water, Hubert's Lemonade, Invo Coconut Water, Suja, WANU, GT’s Kombucha, Guru, Hi-Ball Energy, Reeds, Honest Tea, Pristine Hydro, Malk, Vegan Designer, Kids Make A Difference, APRL, Baby Life Shake, Gentle Barn, Dream Home Estates, Farm Sanctuary, Gaffer + Child, Gardein, IsWithin, Local. Healthy Tapas, Lydia’s Kind Food, Macaccino, Rhythm Superfoods, Smart Pressed Juice, Zellee Organics, Zen Comfort, Happy Cow, WAN, Health Healing and Happiness, BettyLou’s, Bragg, Brad’s Chips, Driftwood Magazine, Kevita, MacroLife Natural, Raw Revolution, Ultima Replenisher, Vitamin Shoppe, and EllynDale.
Check out all the photos in our gallery. Be sure follow SoCal VegFest on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to make sure you receive updates on the next SoCal VegFest events — which will include smaller pop-ups leading up the next VegFest…