VEGFEST - AUSTIN 2016
One of the best things about traveling is the beauty of not knowing exactly what you'll be doing, for whatever period of time you're away. This past week Connor, his family, and I took a trip to Dallas to help his sister who is moving down there for a new job. While there, Connor and I decided to take a day or two visit to Austin - he also has cousins there so it was the p e r f e c t opportunity. After we arrived, we came to find out it just HAPPENED to be the weekend of the 5th annual Texas Vegfest (I had no idea Vegfest was even a thing. I swear.) SO of course we had to go. $10 and two swag bags later, we had entered probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my entire life.
The Texas VegFest is organized by the Texas Veg Foundation - a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, through public activities, about plan-based diets and how they can improve health, protect animals, and protect the environment. The event is open to sponsors, musicians, nonprofits, volunteers, lecturers, and demonstrators that wish to help spread awareness and ultimately have a great f*cking time.
Located in Fiesta Garden, overlooking Lake Austin, VegFest not only offers food but also had live music and entertainment. When you first entered you were handed a swag bag full of samples, coupons, and various magazines/flyers all regarding veganism and animal activism - who doesn't love free stuff? There were also numerous stands selling shirts, stickers, and pins with different catchy sayings all of which I was extremely intrigued by (and yes, of course I bought ALL of it). In addition to having craft beer, coffee, and shakes, the event also had a water hose area where you could re-fill water bottles for free. So they basically had all the bases covered.
As far as food goes, this place did NOT disappoint. I honestly would've needed at least 5 stomachs to be able to enjoy everything, but I was able to get my hands on (literally) one of the most important food groups there is, burgers. This brings me to Arlo's. Specializing in vegan comfort food, Arlo's supports local, organic, non-gmo products. Their menu includes burgers, street tacos, fries (regular AND sweet potato), tots, and chips and salsa all ranging from $3-$8. I opted for the Bac'n Cheeze Burger, because duh. The house-made, gluten and soy free, patty is loaded with all the burger necessities. Topped with house-made seitan bac'n (seitan - a high-protein vegetarian food made from wheat gluten), melted cheeze, vegan mayo, ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and lettuce, I had finally found the hangover worthy vegan burger of my dreams. Not only was the burger amazing, the fries were crisp to perfection. I have had a decent amount of vegan food these past seven months and I have to say this has been the best experience so far and really has shown me how far we are coming in making vegan foods that actually satisfy your cravings. If you're ever in the Austin area, Arlo's has three locations and all are open late - highly recommend!
All in all, I feel so blessed to have been able to have attended an event like this one. It was my first time being surrounded by like minded people (besides my sister), and 100% solidified why I made this lifestyle change. It's important for me to note that I, as a vegan, do not consider myself better than anyone else, but that all I wish to do is educate that there are other options. Especially in the society that we live in now, events like this prove that we are coming so far from where we were, even from just five years ago, and it's only going to get bigger. I will definitely be going to back next year - and many more after that! Feel free to email me regarding any questions you have about veganism or honestly anything I talk about on here - I am always open to discussion! Don't forget to give this post a like below and I hope everyone has a great weekend!