Going to be around this weekend and have nothing planned? How about heading into Manhattan for the 3rd Annual NYC Vegetarian Food Festival?
If you are at all interested in plant-based eating, this is a great event. All of the food is vegetarian (mostly vegan, but I would watch labels and ask questions if you’re a strict vegan. I got a bag of pita chips with dairy by accident last year!), and there’s tons of it. You will walk out with so many free samples you won’t know what to do with them!
One of those bags of chips isn’t vegan, but fortunately for me, one of my readers noticed my picture before I ate them! Phew! But the festival is still awesome.
My favorite tips from both?
- Bring a backpack! Brilliant idea. Makes it way easier to carry around all that free food you’ll get, and the food they’re selling you’ll want to buy. I’d consider bringing some plastic containers, too, to hold more fragile items like cookies. Poor cookies, always getting crushed in my bag!
- Check out the schedule ahead of time. There might be speakers or demos that you really want to see.
- Buy your tickets ahead of time. Lines can be looooooong for non-ticket holders (though tickets are cheaper at the door).
- Bring your appetite! There’s going to be plenty of food there- don’t fill up before you go, though it’s probably not a smart idea to be starving when you get there.
- Leave the little babies at home (very overwhelming and crowded), but bring the kids! There will be programing designed just for the children this year.
- Bring cash! Some vendors will take credit cards, but not all. Plus, I know you’re going to want to get something from the Cinnamon Snail parked right outside, and they’re cash only. You will be sad if you rely on credit cards!
- It’s okay to go by yourself, and it’s nice to be with friends, too. Looking for someone to go with? The Westchester Veggie Meet-Up Group will also be going!
If you’re really into the animal rights movement, or just want to meet other vegans, there will also be a Mercy For Animals fundraiser as the official after-party Saturday night (I wish I could go, but I’ll be singing in the chorus of a world premiere oratorio in Ossining, instead. You could be cool and come see that, too).
This is really a great time, and it’s a great learning experience, too. You get to try lots of different products, buy a few things that you wouldn’t normally have access to (I’m sure hoping that Upton’s Naturals will have some of their seitan for sale!), and with the speakers and demos, you’ll get to see and hear a lot you might learn from. And have I mentioned that it’s fun?
If you’re going to check it out:
NYC Vegetarian Food Festival
March 2nd & 3rd, 10AM-5PM
The Metropolitan Pavilion
125 W. 18th St
I Eat Plants columnist Jodie Deignan went vegetarian in 2004 and fully committed to veganism in 2007. By day she’s a psychiatric nurse practitioner and by night she spends a lot of time cooking delicious vegan food for herself and her friends. She’s a bit of a picky eater, with a special distaste for mushrooms, seaweed, raw tomatoes, and eggplant, though she’s discovered along the way she’s a little more open-minded than she once thought. She blogs at The Picky Vegan. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.