Small Bites: Asheville Vegfest

Veg out: Green Light Cafe owner Shannon Blair will be at the Asheville Vegfest showcasing her restaurant’s meat-free fare Photo by Jonathan Welch

Asheville’s first all-vegetarian food festival, the Asheville Vegfest, takes over Battery Park Avenue on Sunday, August 7, from noon until 7 p.m. The free festival is presented by The Asheville Vegetarians and Goat Mountain Sanctuary, two local nonprofit, volunteer-based organizations. The festival will feature vegan and vegetarian food, speakers, live entertainment and kids’ events, including The Vegetable Circus, a group that uses Big Top-style arts to teach children fun ways to grow up healthy.

That’s not the end of the activities geared toward kids, says Carmon Donnellan, one of the event's organizers and a member of Asheville Vegetarians. There will be a large kids' area, she says, filled with activities for the littlest vegetarians. "I think that it's going to have more kids' events than the typical festival,” she says. “We really want to get families to come."

Vegfest Vendors will include familiar faces like Firestorm Café and Books, Rosetta's Kitchen, Laughing Seed and Chai Pani. Beer will be available from Highland Brewing Company. Avery's Hot Dogs will be there too, vending their tofu dogs. "All the big guys and more,” says Donnellan.  “There are quite a few brand-new businesses too, so that will be nice to help them advertise and get out in the community."

New businesses at the event include Veggie Love, a local caterer that’s opening Asheville’s first all-vegan, entirely gluten-free food truck in September, as well as Asheville’s first all-veggie drive-through (opened earlier this year on Merrimon), Vegheads Drive Thru. Asheville’s first vegan restaurant, Plant (to be opened on Merrimon later this year, where Beans and Berries used to be located), will also be represented.

Don’t go to Vegfest expecting a tofu party, says Donnellan, who feels that the variety of offerings will be a pleasant surprise to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. “It's great to show people that there are so many options out there, that we don't just eat tofu,” she says. “To be able to bring it all together and show people how big [the vegetarian community] really is, we hope that will help people want to be a part of it. It's going to be a good festival.” For more information, visit http://www.ashevillevegfest.org.

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