Vegfest Guelph kicked off with a bang on the weekend, attracting over 1,000 people to the festival’s first pop-up market on Saturday at
Steamy temperatures and a newly-introduced $3 door fee didn’t seem to keep an eager and underserviced crowd from congregating inside the market area – stiflingly hot at times as patrons sweated and furiously fanned themselves to try and stay cool – where 70 vendors showcased vegan-friendly goods ranging from beauty products, clothing and accessories to home decor, art and food, under one roof.
Offerings and services were expansive yet all shared one common theme: to celebrate and promote cruelty-free, vegan lifestyles in the form of arts, crafts, eats and treats.
“Everyone seemed to dig the message that we don't have to harm animals in order to enjoy good food, and to adorn and care for ourselves or each other. That's the key message that we really hope to share with all of our events,” said Vegfest co-founder Christine Allard, who has been coordinating Vegfest since its inaugural event in 2014.
Outside the church in the parking lot, hungry patrons formed orderly lines to enjoy a bite and a breeze from three food trucks that served up tasty vegan fare.
In the past, Vegfest was held as one expansive event each year on the vast grounds of
Shop-Up is a new addition to its traditional lineup, the first event for Vegfest Guelph 2017, which will also include a bake sale, cooking classes, film nights and culminate in the Veggielicious food fair on August 27.
Katarina Poletto, owner of Hamilton-based Dolled Up Desserts, a vegan wholesale bakery that sells packaged vegan baking mixes in over 45 retail locations across
“I appreciate the two smaller [broken-down] Vegfests as it gives a broader platform for community members to enjoy vegan, cruelty-free culture. I liked that [Shop-Up] was smaller as it allowed more time to interact with the community. Attendance was what I expected; same with sales.”
She did add that she’s prefer a venue with air conditioning in the future as the heat had a negative impact on her displayed baked goods.
“Despite its agricultural heritage,
Margaret LeSage, owner of
“We had an idea of the anticipated crowd size but most would be unfamiliar with Boon Burger so we took a best guess at the quantity of food we would require. The response was overwhelming and we sold out in about an hour and a half,” LeSage wrote in an email.
At Saturday’s Shop-Up, Boon was required to work with a minimized menu as their location inside the church’s dated kitchen wasn’t equipped for them to serve their famous burger. LeSage said the veggie dogs and chili served on Saturday didn’t have the same appeal to non-vegans as her burgers typically do.
“I think the pop-up market is a way to keep the VegFest theme top of mind, but it certainly does not replace VegFest,” she said.
LeSage said she appreciates the festival’s lure to attract attendees from across
“VegFest planners in
A portion of door proceeds, totalling $1,000, will be donated to We Animals.