On Saturday, I dragged my husband up to the Lehigh Valley to attend Bethlehem’s Fifth Annual VegFest. VegFest is a vegan and sustainable lifesyle festival that attracts both long-time vegans and people who are just curious about vegan foods and healthier living. This was our first time attending VegFest, and I was so happy with the experience we had there. There were over 70 vendors that were arranged into eight different categories: Food Court, Farmer’s Market, Animal Haven, Mind Body Spirit, Health Zone, Kid’s Zone, Community Zone, and Earth Art Corner/Green Tech. I apologize in advance for the photo quality- these were all taken with my iPhone.
First, lets talk about the food. There were twelve vendors set up serving freshly-made vegan dishes (Food Court), as well as ten more vendors who sold pre-packaged juices and snacks (Farmer’s Market). As far as we could tell from the lines, the two most anticipated vendors were The Cinnamon Snail food truck from NYC, and Vegan Treats Bakery. Kevin and I got in line for The Cinnamon Snail because we figured- if so many people were waiting for it, it must be good. However, after five minutes in a really long line and no movement at all, we bailed and decided to grab something else. We decided on Freakin’ Vegan, where Kevin got a Vegan Pulled Pork Slider and I got a Broccoli & Cheese Empanada. We also split some mac and cheese. Kevin really liked the Pulled Pork and kept saying to me “what is this if it’s not pork?” and I honestly had no answer for him. Veggies? The mac and cheese was really good. Not creamy like traditional mac and cheese, but it was so cheesy tasting that no one would be able to tell it was completely dairy-free. My empanada was just okay. Probably wouldn’t order it again, but satisfied my hunger at the time. The highlight of my lunch was the fresh-squeezed flavored lemonades we ordered from Green Mouth Juice Bar + Cafe. They had so many amazing flavor combinations, it was hard to choose. We ordered the Strawberry Basil and the Mojito varieties. The Strawberry Basil was sweet and fruity, while the Mojito was a little more sour due to the fresh lime juice. Both were delicious and I definitely couldn’t chose a favorite. After we ate our lunch, we walked over the Mompops Gourmet for some popsicles. Once again, super hard to choose a flavor. Kev chose Sea Salt Chocolate and I ordered the Raspberry Banana Cream. Both were so cool and creamy that it was hard to believe they were made without dairy. The Raspberry Banana Cream had just 18 calories and 3 grams of sugar. Kev’s Sea Salt Chocolate had 22 calories and 4 grams of sugar. What an amazing alternative to traditional ice cream bars or fudge pops. We decided to brave the Vegan Treats line so that we could bring some delicious desserts home with us. We ordered a few items that we thought would travel well: a peanut butter chocolate cake doughnut, a chocolate Oreo cake doughnut, and some “Betterfinger” bars. My one regret about VegFest is that I didn’t bring home a Peanut Butter Bomb from Vegan Treats. I guess that just means I will have to drive up to the bakery and order some there. Disclaimer: Vegan Treats is definitely NOT a “healthy” food option. Don’t drive up to Vegan Treats thinking you can get some low fat, low cal desserts because it isn’t happening. What you CAN get is some truly amazing, creative, delicious desserts to enjoy in moderation.
Pulled Pork Slider and Mac & Cheese from Freakin’ Vegan
(Did I mention that Kevin lost his wedding ring in the ocean a few weeks ago??? He did. Oops.)
Mojito Lemonade & Strawberry Basil Lemonade
Mompops Gourmet Popsicles
The iconic Cinnamon Snail
Vegan Treats Bakery doughnut selection (check out those “chicken and waffles” doughnuts)
VegFest is considered a vegan festival, and a lot more goes into the vegan lifestyle than just food. The Animal Haven was probably my favorite section of the festival. There were some great animal adoption organizations that definitely are not as well-known as they should be. The Beagle Freedom Project aims to rehome beagles that have been used for animal experimentation in research labs. For whatever reason, beagles are the most commonly used dog in animal experiments, and these babies need homes too. The Pig Placement Network is an adoption organization for potbellied pigs. So many people adopt piglets under the false pretense that they will be “teacup” pigs and stay small. Well, before the know it these pigs are upwards of 100 pounds and the owners no longer want them. The Pig Placement Network helps to find these pigs loving, forever homes. In addition to the adoption organizations, the Animal Haven section had lots of information on different organizations to help animals including the Humane League, Mercy for Animals, Sea Shepherd of Philadelphia, and Farm Sanctuary.
The rest of the vendors sold handmade jewelry, green cleaning products, vegan cookbooks and apparel, and other items. Some provided information about local food co-ops, fitness studios, and personal training. These vendors were less relevant to us, since we are not from the Lehigh Valley. However, it was cool to see some of what the area has to offer because it made me curious to search around and see what’s in OUR area. We had an informative talk with Green Mountain Energy, who provides sustainable energy to PECO. We decided to give their services a shot and signed up on the spot. The festival also had some live cooking demonstrations, lectures, and music. Overall, it was a really great experience and I would highly recommend looking into next years festival!
For more information, log on to their website: http://www.downtownbethlehemassociation.com/events/vegfest