What’s new in food: It’s a plant-based party at Asheville VeganFest

PLANT POWER: Attendees of last year's VeganFest enjoy a day filled with plant-based food, fun and education. Photo by Michael Gibbons

Editor’s note: Several events planned for this weekend have been rescheduled due to heavy anticipated rain from Hurricane Ian. Xpress will continue to update this page as additional information comes in.

Whether you’re a vegan, a part-time vegan or someone curious about the lifestyle, the seventh annual Asheville VeganFest invites everyone to open their minds (and mouths) to the virtues of a plant-based diet. Originally scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 2, the latest gathering will now convene at Pack Square Park, Sunday, Oct. 16, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on account of heavy rain anticipated this weekend due to Hurricane Ian.

“The goal of Veganfest is to help educate the community on the benefits of a plant-based diet while enjoying a fun, family-friendly festival,” says Helene Greenberg, lead organizer. “We want everyone to come out and support our vendors; I want people to smile.”

Ten food trucks, serving all manner of vegan cuisine from Greek and Latin to traditional sandwiches and burgers, will be present during the gathering. “The food at this festival is always off the charts,” says Greenberg.

Additionally, over 100 merchant booths will be set up selling vegan, eco-friendly cheeses and desserts, clothes and jewelry, and arts and crafts. “We always strive to have a variety of vendors that will appeal to everyone,” Greenberg continues.

Face painting, a live magician and life-size board games found in the festival’s Kids Fun Zone will keep children entertained while parents peruse all that is purveyed. Educational and motivational speakers will speak on a number of topics extolling the nutritional and ecological benefits of a vegan diet, and eight musical guests are lined up to supply live music over the course of the day.

Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge serves as the presenting sponsor of the festival, and Asheville VeganFest will commit a portion of all donations gathered throughout the event to assist the 120 animals in its care.

Asheville VeganFest is at 121 College St. The event is free to attend, though a $10 donation is suggested. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $25 per person. Visit avl.mx/ah0 for additional information.

Prepare to Prost!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for those who love festbier!

DSSOLVR will debut its inaugural Shrektoberfest (that’s right — a Shrek-themed Oktoberfest celebration) on Friday, Sept. 30, 3-8 p.m. Along with the special festbier release and green slushies to mark the occasion, the event will also feature classic Oktoberfest food, games, arts and crafts, and costume contests all blended with the Shrek theme.
DSSOLVR is at 63 N. Lexington Ave. For more information, visit avl.mx/c0v

On Saturday, Oct. 1, Eurikso Beer Co. will host a more traditional Oktoberfest, noon-10 p.m. Patrons can anticipate a loaded tap list of classic German beers, foods, news merchandise and the can release of the brewery’s own festbier.  Eurisko Beer Co. is at 255 Short Coxe Ave. For more information, visit avl.mx/c0y.

Oktoberfest celebrations continue Saturday, Oct. 22, at The Whale,  4-6 p.m. Guests can expect themed competitions (pretzel toss, costume contest, stein run and stein hoist) and a bevy of classic fest beers on tap, such as Ayinger, Paulaner, Hofbräu and an exclusive Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest available all day from noon-11 p.m.
The Whale is at 507 Haywood Road, Suite 10. For more information, visit avl.mx/c0x

A toast to local wildlife

Party down to raise awareness for area wilderness at the second annual Bears Bees + Brews Festival, happening Saturday, Oct. 8, noon-5 p.m., at Rabbit Rabbit.

This free, family-friendly event will feature over 15 local wildlife and conservation organizations engaged in on-site demonstrations and activities. Voting for the top three finalists in a youth art contest will take place as well, with a winner announced that day; all three works are inspired by wildlife and wilderness. Meanwhile, adults can join a competition of their own in a raffle for a two-night stay at the Renaissance Asheville Downtown Hotel.

Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co.’s full food and drink menu will be available throughout the event. Asheville Tacos & Taps food truck, Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ, Vortex Doughnuts and Kafe Neo Espresso Bar will also provide food and beverage options throughout the event.

“I would love our guests to leave with a sense of pride for our incredible mountain region,” says Roni Hidalgo,  the festival’s founder. “I would hope that they become inspired to do more to help protect, preserve and coexist with our local wildlife and wilderness and that they continue to talk about what they learn at the festival with others.”

Rabbit Rabbit is at 75 Coxe Ave. Learn more at avl.mx/c0z.

BBQ Benefit

Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ and Mikasa AVL are hosting a collaborative benefit dinner Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 6 p.m. Funds raised from the $75 ticket cost will directly support at-risk high-school-age students through PIVOTPoint WNC’s therapeutic adventure programming.

The evening’s dinner will include smoked squash and leek soup, mixed greens salad with Green Man brown ale reduction dressing, Peruvian shrimp and grits, tri-tip with chimichurri and smoked cobbler made with ice cream from The Hop.

“I hope that guests learn the power of therapeutic adventure and how it can be such a positive influence in people’s lives,” says Cheryl Antoncic, Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ co-owner. “It is life-changing for individuals and their loved ones when they are able to access the right kind of recovery programs and make connections to people who can help them along the way.”

The event takes place at Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ, 135 Coxe Ave. Visit avl.mx/c0a for tickets and information.

A taste of the vineyard

Point Lookout Vineyards will hold a benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Henderson County on Thursday, Oct. 6, 6-9 p.m. Tickets to A Taste of the Vineyard will cost $75 each and include food from Amanda’s Catering and a complimentary glass of wine from Point Lookout.

The Bryson City bluegrass band Granny’s Mason Jar will perform that evening, and a silent auction will be held featuring getaway vacations, art services and other prizes. “The money raised enables us to ‘ignite potential’ in the 85 young people we serve,” says Erin Erickson, program coordinator of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Henderson County, in a news release.

Point Lookout Vineyards is at 408 Appleola Road, Hendersonville. Visit avl.mx/c09 for tickets and information.

Edible education

Marcie Cohen Ferris, editor of Edible North Carolina: A Journey Across a State of Flavor, will host a speaking engagement discussing the book’s culinary topics Friday, Sept. 30, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., at Plott Hound Books. The bookstore’s owner, Ronni Lundy, contributed the essay “Crafting Asheville’s Foodtopia: Two Decades in the Mountain South” to Ferris’ book.

This free event will provide perspective on North Carolina’s food culture as well as “how to easily, and deliciously, help rebuild and strengthen vibrant working food landscapes in your community,” says Ferris. “By doing so, you are choosing both healthy and flavorful foods that also help to sustain the environment, diminish climate change and ensure food justice, access and food sovereignty for all North Carolinians.”

Plott Hound Books is at 102 W. Main St., Burnsville. Visit avl.mx/c0l for additional information.

Fall at the farm

Ready for some autumnal fun? Hickory Nut Gap has announced the launch of its 2022 fall festivities schedule featuring a variety of seasonal, family-friendly activities taking place each weekend in October.

Pony rides, hayrides and a pumpkin patch are available with free admission at the company farm. Donations for the pony rides are suggested, with proceeds benefiting Project HNG, the farm’s nonprofit organization focused on community enrichment throughout WNC.

Fresh-pressed cider and all of Hickory Nut Gap’s in-store offerings will also be available during the festivities.

Hickory Nut Gap is at 57 Sugar Hollow Road, Fairview. Visit avl.mx/c0r for additional information.

Ginger’s Revenge South Slope debut

The recently opened second location of Ginger’s Revenge on South Slope is holding two special events to celebrate the expansion.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place Wednesday, Sept. 28, 4-6 p.m., in partnership with the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. Each guest will receive a special thank-you treat at the door, prize drawings will be available, and Darë Vegan Cheese will provide spreads.

The official grand opening party will be held Saturday, Oct. 1, 2-9 p.m. The first 50 attendees will receive a free koozie. Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn will hand out celebratory gifts on-site, and live jazz will be played by Connor Law and Dan Keller from 4-6 p.m.

Ginger’s Revenge South Slope Lounge is at 32 Banks Ave. Visit avl.mx/c0u for additional information.

Spice up your seafood

The Lobster Trap’s executive chef, Mike McCarty, and Firewalker Hot Sauce Co. owner Franco Donohue have collaborated to create a new seafood-friendly hot sauce for the downtown restaurant.

Made with cayenne and red bell peppers, garlic and black pepper, this new specialty hot sauce is formulated to brighten and intensify the flavors of menu items like po’boys, lobster mac and cheese and crabcakes, without overpowering the natural flavors. The sauce is low-sodium, vegan and gluten-free and made with only natural ingredients.

“The Lobster Trap has been using our Firewalker Original Hot Sauce for years, and Chef Mike and I go way back,” says Donohue. “Mike had the idea that we do a collaboration for a new house hot sauce, and we came together with a flavor concept in mind and even co-designed the label together.”

The Lobster Trap is at 35 Patton Ave. Visit avl.mx/c0t for additional information.

Buncombe County wins big at state fair

A pair of Buncombe County residents recently placed first in cooking competitions at the 2022 N.C. Mountain State Fair.

Susie Zuerner, competing in the N.C. Cattlemen’s Beef Council’s Classic Comfort Food competition, wowed judges with Denver ragu. Liam Robertson’s blueberry tart coffee cake placed first in the N.C. Egg Association’s Coffee Cake recipe contest.

All first-, second- and third-place winners in each competition call Buncombe County home.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Sept. 27. 


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.