Vegfest Brighton

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, it seemed like a good idea to add some metaphorical green to the day by taking advantage of the last day of Vegfest Brighton. This turned out to be a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. It almost made up for the fact that I couldn’t spend the holiday in Dublin.

Though there was no St. Patrick’s theme to be found, there were plenty of stalls at Vegfest that helped me celebrate. Green’s Gluten Free Beers was there with free beer tasters – I ended up liking the Discovery variety enough to snap up the last three bottles available for sale (if the rampant food-stealing in my dorm’s shared kitchen gets to these, there will be blood). It’s almost reminiscent of cider, it’s gluten-free, it won an award from the US edition of Vegetarian Times a couple of years ago, and it’s stocked in Whole Foods locations across the US. Not too shabby.

Even better than the beer: the baked goods I snagged at the Ms. Cupcake stall. When I saw they had Irish Cream, I naturally had to have one, and for good measure I picked up a cookie sandwich comprised of two snickerdoodle-like cookies and a vegan buttercream center as well. This one was somewhat reminiscent of one of my favorite treats from my favorite DC-area bakery, and as it’s technically a sandwich I figured it would be a good dinner choice.

Of course, not everything needed a vague St. Patrick’s Day tie-in to strike my fancy. I also finally found a great meatless substitute vender, something I’ve been struggling with since arriving here. Back home, I’ve been a Morningstar devotee for years, but finding an equivalent here has been tough. Stumbling upon Redwood‘s stall was pretty much exactly what I’d been hoping for when I set out for Vegfest – they were selling loads of different meat-free sausages, burgers, nuggets, pâtés… pretty much anything you could want. And in addition to stocking up on this stuff on the spot, I also now know where to buy it in the future. Thank God.

What surprised me about Vegfest was the extensiveness of the programming (music! strength contests! speed dating! yoga!) and the diversity of both the venders and the attendees. A lot of the time I feel like my fellow vegetarians are pretty much just privileged twenty-something hipsters, but on Sunday the Hove Centre was packed with people from all walks of life, ranging from elderly to young enough that they were being pushed around in a tiny stroller. Maybe that’s just because Brighton is a particularly liberal city or vegetarianism is particularly prevalent here, but it was cool that the event had such wide appeal.

Sadly, Vegfest Brighton was just a two-day event on March 16th and 17th, but VegfestUK will be putting on similar events in Bristol on May 24th-26th and in London on October 5th-6th. I definitely recommend checking it out!

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