Who: VN Publisher Joseph Connelly, VN Senior Editor Elizabeth Castoria, + VN Distribution Manager Katie Donaldson
What: Taking Action for Animals
Where: Arlington, Va.
When: July 19–21, 2008
Why: Because animals need us to take action!
The Scoop: While most tourists tend to avoid the Washington, DC, area during the throes of July's humidity, attending TAFA was reason enough for our troupe to brave the thick, wet air. Luckily, the hotel in which the convention was held was well equipped to deal with our wilting and kept the AC flowing freely. After getting settled, we all enjoyed the welcome reception and met up with multitudes of enthusiastic advocates. TAFA is put on by The Humane Society of the United States, and who do you think was the very first person to welcome us to the conference? That would be president Wayne Pacelle, of course. After mingling to our hearts content and getting to know our fellow attendees, Katie and I decided to strike out on our own in search of some substantial eats. It took us more time to read over the extensive menu at The Vegetable Garden than it had to get there on the Metro. The crispy eggplant, orange beef with pineapple, and organic vegetable delight revived us from our day of traveling.
The next morning we hustled downstairs to the exhibition hall to make sure we were ready for the VN-hungry crowds. Well, okay, they may have had one other reason to stop by our booth: the Sticky Fingers Cupcake Party! That's Sticky Finger's own Ben Adams and Doron Petersan you see holding a hefty box of cupcakes below. It took only 20 minutes for all 200 incredibly yummy treats to get distributed to the eager masses. There are likely better methods of taking action for animals than gorging on vegan cupcakes, but none as sweet!
We spent the rest of the conference enjoying the oratory skills of Gene Baur, VN columnist Rory Freedman, web-media guru Joe Trippi, and anti-puppy-mill crusader Jana Kohl, and munching on the exquisite fare provided by Veg Advantage's Chef Lex Townes. Let me just say that I could have easily eaten 10 of the incredible faux-chicken panini with melty, dairy-free cheese and fresh tomatoes that we noshed for lunch on Saturday. Though, it would have been a shame to be too full to eat at the banquet Saturday night, which featured some of the best freaking mashed potatoes I've ever had, and a scrumptuous faux-chicken breast in an outrageously good herbed mushroom sauce. Another highlight of the banquet was Carol Leifer's fall-down funny presentation. We were lucky enough to have the highly comedic comedian at our banquet table, and she was kind enough to snap a photo with Katie and me (above). Despite the heat and humidity, a great time was had by all!