Tallahassee Florida Celebrates First Annual North Florida VegFest April 4th In Cascade Park Downtown Tallahassee!

North Florida Veg Fest
Cascades Park
1001 South Gadsden St
Tallahassee, FL 32301

North Florida VegFest
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by CD Davidson-Hiers

 

Julie Sutton and I first met at 101 Restaurant in downtown Tallahassee. I had been put in contact with her as the coordinator for Tallahassee’s premiering VegFest, happening the weekend of April 4th. Julie, along with many other members of the Vegfest committee, were there that night as a social outing, a friendly gathering of vegans and vegetarians alike. The first questions asked were: how long have you been a vegan, and why did you switch?

 

Julie Sutton

 

Oftentimes, the vegan diet is stigmatized by the American public, so speaking with fellow vegans and vegetarians was a rewarding experience, merely in the openness of the conversation at the table. There were often nods, not of approval per se, but of “I’ve been there too, honey,” when talking about learning how to transition between differing diets.

This year’s VegFest will be Tallahassee’s first VegFestival, hosted at the beautiful location of downtown Cascades Park. “We’ve spent almost a year planning for the VegFest and it has taken a lot of persistence and dedication from the volunteers on the planning committee,” Julie Sutton wrote me in an email when I asked her what the preparations for the upcoming event entailed. “We started planning the event last spring and most of the promoting has been done through social media and by posting flyers around town.” Julie and the volunteers for the VegFest also took to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to spread awareness for the event. They were surprised by how quickly the group began to gain a support base. “Honestly, I think the event sells itself. I think people are hungry for an event like this is our area. VegFests are very popular around the country and I think people are becoming more aware of them.”

 

VegFest Ad_Democrat

But what exactly is a VegFest? Well, it’s not what I immediately thought of, which entails a series of vegetables being trotted out for examination. And here I add to the stereotype of the plant-based interests. No, a VegFest is much like a Music Fest, where artists of the genre get together to draw the attention of their fans to one specific location. This location then becomes the area of celebration of an idea, or, in this case, a lifestyle.
There will be hosted speakers at the event who come bearing their knowledge, their passions, and their books. These speakers, these artists (to reflect back to the previous comparison), will be presenting their work, research, and experience with a plant-based lifestyle. I asked Julie how the group managed to gather enough attention to attract these speakers for the event.
“Danielle Bussone saw our event on Facebook and reached out to us right away to offer to speak at our VegFest. It’s obvious how passionate she is to spread her story of health to travel from Virginia to be here. We reached out to Ellen Jaffe Jones to ask her to be a speaker. She was willing to drive from South Florida to be here. Her bestselling books will be available for sale at the VegFest.” Two other speakers, Lee Sackett and Dr. Freddy Kaye, will also be in attendance at the festival.

And, of course, there will be food. Come for the food. “ We reached out to two local chefs, Jill Welch and Cynthia Cowen, and invited them to do cooking demonstrations,” Julie informed me. Information is always supplemented by a full belly, and what a way to connect with the people in the community: by sharing a meal.

There will be tents, tables, and chairs set up at the park, as well as microphones and speakers. The event will be held April 4th from 11am until 3pm. Come one, come all, and enjoy the secret art of vegan food, which, actually, is not much of a secret after all.

 

CD Davidson-Hiers is in her second year at FSU as a double major in French and English. As an aspiring writer, she craves adventure and exposure while attempting to maintain her flagging interest in higher education. She is a practicing triathlete, plays the violin, and reads voraciously. She became involved with Veggin’ Out and About late in 2014 and began writing for the blog at the turn of the year.

Contact Catherine Deborah to recommend a restaurant, talk about anything plant-based, discuss literary works, or even pose an unanswerable philosophical question.

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