Who: VN Publisher/Editor in Chief Joseph Connelly, VN Distribution Manager Katie Paul, + VN Volunteer Extraordinaire Alexandra “Alex” Santilli
What: 13th Annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival
Where: Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, Boston, Mass.
When: November 1, 2008
Why: To promote VegNews at the largest one-day veg event in the land
The Scoop: This marathon of a trip has lasted so long it has now spilled over into a new month. With two days left in my campaign I feel like Obama and McCain, sprinting to the finish with a jam-packed schedule to close-out this adventure before returning to good ol’ San Francisco.
For the eighth consecutive year, VN has been on hand at the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival, the overly impressive undertaking of BVS, the Boston Vegetarian Society. As running has been a main theme of these reports, it’s most certainly apropos that the event is held at—and in—the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, dontcha think?
There are two main components of the BVFF: The exhibitor hall and the speaker room. The event is free, offering many who might never venture to a veg fest the opportunity to see what we’re all about, without risk. And venture they most certainly did, filling both the hall and the speaker room to spill-over capacity at each lecture.
With Katie and Alex staffing the table, I ventured up one floor to capture the impressive speaker line-up that consisted of Vegan a Go-Go author Sarah Kramer, whom you might remember from the little bash we threw in her honor back in October; Get It Ripe author Jae Steele, a fresh and energetic force whom I had not yet met; the venerable Dr. T. Colin Campbell, returning to the Festival for the first time since the publication of The China Study, VegNews’ 2005 Book of the Year; Karen Dawn, Thanking the Monkey author, who has, officially, attended every conference and event this year; Michael Greger, MD, whose lectures on up-to-the-minute vegan nutrition are always informative and never fail to tickle the funny bone; and 2008’s newest sensation, Hannah Kaminsky, the overachiever who had the nerve to publish her first comprehensive vegan dessert cookbook, My Sweet Vegan, at the youthful age of 19. Kids today. Anyone would have to agree that the roster put together by the BVS is first-rate all the way, and the 1,000 or so folks who filled every chair and inch of floor space in the speaker room would certainly agree.
Downstairs, the exhibit hall was no-less crowded, from the moment the doors opened until late in the afternoon. A walk through the large room, which was nearly impossible to actually walk around, felt like a veritable who’s-who of the veg community. There’s Josh of Herbivore, clothing and publishing magnet; Ryan and Dan of Chicago Soydairy, VN’s 2008 Company of the Year; Our friends Liz, Dan, and Andy from Liz Lovely, whose cookies which redefine the concept; the gals from Café Indigo, frantically cutting up their carrot cake while proudly displaying a framed sign from VN proclaiming it the Best. Carrot. Cake. Ever; Eileen of Simple Food, a company that makes five flavors of soynut butter that might just give peanut butter a run for the money; Jeanine of Snooty Jewelry, making certain everyone has their vegan bling; Mercy for Animals’ Nathan, representing the non-profit side of our movement; Leigh and Ken, owners of Georgia's Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe; and even Derek and Megan, he of Veganica.com and she of Oh Sweet Mama’s Vegan Bakery, walking around recording bits and bobs for their Vegan Radio program. If I didn’t mention you or your company, don’t fret—there's always next year.
Yes, BVS president Evelyn Kimber and her all-volunteer committee really know how to put on a show. Congratulations on another resoundingly successful festival. Will VegNews be back in 2009? We can’t wait.
As for my trip, tomorrow it’s back to NYC for another marathon (could it be?) and a bunch of Candles. Maybe 79.