It may still be a few weeks away, but Pittsburghers are already thinking about the third annual VegFest, which will be held on Saturday, August 5 in Allegheny Commons Park.
This festival is known for bringing Pittsburghers together in the name of animal advocacy, and one of the largest collection of vegan food purveyors in the city.
Hosted by local non-profit Justice for Animals, the event began two years ago when Justice for Animals founders Leila Sleiman and Natalie Fristick realized the absence of an event like this in Pittsburgh. Using their own experience, knowledge, and funds, they worked to pull together the first festival in 2015.
Through their commitment, the first rendition of VegFest was born – and it was a huge success. Last year’s event was a similar story, despite some rain on the morning of the event.
“It poured down rain in the morning, and we were not prepared,” says Sleiman. “It was horrible and it didn’t stop. So it’s 10:00 am, and there are all these people standing umbrella to umbrella waiting in line. I was almost brought to tears seeing that people still came out in the rain.”
The VegFest team is excited to be able to bring back the festival to their loyal fans for the third year in a row.
“We really just want it to be this awesome thing for the city. It is supposed to be like a big party.”
So, what can an attendee of VegFest expect?
First off, a large selection of vegan food vendors. In the past, VegFest has been a great platform for vegan food businesses to test recipes, and gain a local following. Popular vegan ice cream supplier Sugar Spell Scoops debuted at VegFest 2016, and B52 Cafe tested recipes at the original VegFest before opening Lawrenceville the following year.
This year, the food line up includes:
- Onion Maiden
- Blue Sparrow Food Truck
- Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine
- Double Wide Grill
- White Rabbit Cafe’ and Patisserie
- Fortuitea Cafe
- Randita’s Organic Cuisine
- Wolf Teeth Donuts
- Black Forge Coffee House
- Pittsburgh Juice Company
- Fresh from the Farm Juices
- Good Chroma
- Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt
- Gluten Free Goat
- Stickler’s Ice Pop’s
- Salud PGH
- Sugar Spell Scoops
- Chip and Kale
In addition to the food (come hungry!), there will be animal welfare organizations like the Animal Rescue League, Pigsburgh Squealers Rescue, and the Humane Animal Rescue and Wildlife Center (who have, in the past, brought interesting animals and turtle shells). There will also be animals for adoption, live music, and an exciting lineup of entertainers and speakers.
Over 25 vegan vendors (everything from “notcho cheese” to vegan clothing) will be in attendance. Finally, Pittsburgh celebrity “Doc the Pig” is slated to make an appearance.
“It’s gotten a lot of attention as a food festival, and that is great. Maybe the way to people’s mind for animal compassion is through their stomach,” laughs Sleiman.
Pittsburgh VegFest is free to attend, and the first 250 people will receive loaded goodie bag. The event will be held on August 5th from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. More information can be found online.