Bethlehem VegFest 2011

Veg fests are a great way to meet new people, sample food and other vendors, and learn something about your community. The From A to Vegan crew was excited to be able to attend the first ever Bethlehem VegFest in Bethlehem, PA this past Saturday, September 10th. For us, this meant traveling about an hour to reach the event, which is a mostly scenic car ride away from our home base in Bucks County.

For me, as the only member of our group who was born close to that venue, it was a nice way to reconnect to the area. I head up that way semi-frequently to pick up some goodies at my favorite confectionery store, Vegan Treats. When I was a kid, I spent quite a bit of time around there since my family is originally from that area—and this was the first time that I spent the entire day there since I’ve been old enough to drive a car (a long time ago). Connecting my kid self to my adult, vegan self was a little surreal; it was the first time that I made a real connection to this area since I was a child.

I was impressed that we could actually park close to the event. It took place on the south side of town in the Greenway, a surprisingly large community park space. Tents were set up around the sidewalk with easy walking space for plenty of people to mill around, check out vendors, and meet up with people. In the middle of the Greenway was a special tent for speakers (we stopped by to attend the Our Hen House talk), and at the far end was a space for bands to play. Around the other side was a large aisle for food vendors.

The whole event was 100% vegan friendly, which was so refreshing! We were so excited to meet Jaime Karpovich (of Save the Kales!), the vegan voice behind this VegFest—who played a huge part in making sure veganism was well represented. There was more than one food vendor from which to choose, and Vegan Treats was also there selling their delicious sweet concoctions, so I was definitely satisfied. I have to confess that I ate a vegan cannoli (yes, and it was fabulous!) before I ate my Buddha Bowl from Balasia. I bet you couldn’t have resisted the temptation, either! In addition to the food vendors, there were local chefs, authors, an arborist, a winemaker, a beauty consultant–a total of 150 local exhibitors presenting their healthy ideas to a reported 10,000 attendees. That’s a phenomenal turnout!

With lots of local vendors, food, and tons of attendees, this VegFest was the perfect way for me and the rest of our group to connect to our extended community here in PA, and the vegan community at large. If you live in the area and you have the chance to attend this event in the future, I would highly recommend it. It’s a great way to join in with others to become an active part of the community and spread your vegan message. We chatted with some great people and had a fun afternoon. I’m excited to see what’s in store next year!

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