Why We Love the Albany VegFest
Posted on June 08, 2016
This was our first year participating at the Albany VegFest. We arrived at 7:30 am to beat the over 70 vendors piling into the Polish Community Center and to make sure we had enough time to set up and be ready for the opening of the festival at 10 am. People started lining up at 9 am to make sure that they got one of the coveted 100 gift bags, which is the Holy Grail of free swag for vegans. You can see in the video below that Kristin Lajeunesse made of the line.
Ben & Jerry's was also giving away scoops of their new dairy free P.B. & Cookies ice cream made with almond milk. These were not tiny sample scoops either they were full scoops like at their stores.
At 10 am the crowd came rushing through the door like a Black Friday sale. We were in good company with Compassion Company, Fanciful Fox, Yeah! Dawg, and V Marks the Shop. There was a line for Vegan Treats until they sold out at around 2 pm. The line moved fast with people only having to wait around fifteen minutes compared to three-hour at the DC VegFest and an hour and a half at the New England VegFest. Our Vegan Fest tip is to get to the Vegan Treats table first thing to get the best selection and skip the line. You will just be carrying around your delicious desserts all day, so pick wisely. You can also head over to their bakery in Bethlehem, PA where there is rarely a wait over five minutes.
The Albany VegFest was dog-friendly, which was a surprise considering it was indoors. The Beagle Freedom Project had a rescued beagle that you could pet. There were a lot of other animal protection groups there too including Sea Shepherd and The Humane Society of the United States. Two of our favorite animal rescues, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and Catskill Animal Sanctuary, had tables. The great thing about the Albany VegFest is that you can make a weekend out of it by visiting Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and Catskill Animal Sanctuary that are only an hour south of Albany.
Being a vendor at vegfests has a downside in that we miss all of the great speakers at the event including Jane Velez-Mitchell and Fran Costigan. Jane was busy during the vegfest doing Facebook live streaming. Watch the video below to see her great coverage of this vegan affair. There was also yoga, crafts, and book readings for the kids. Maya Gottfried was there reading her new book Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary.
We also loved the new vegan delicatessen in Albany, Berben and Wolff's. We had the Seitan Philly and the Wing Burger (see below) with a peanut butter chocolate cake for dessert.
If you can't make it to the Albany VegFest try to make one close to you. It is quite an amazing experience where vegan food and products are normal and you never have to ask about the ingredients. You can see where we will be next on our VegFest events page.