Who: VN contributor Marla Rose
What: A couple thousand vegan and omni maniacs converging for fun in one perfectly preserved vintage building
Where: The Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, Chicago, Ill.
When: October 10, 2009
Why: Any opportunity to enjoy delicious vegan food, great bands and performers, fabulous speakers, and wonderful vendors is worth taking.
The Scoop: When the idea for Chicago VeganMania first occurred to our local braintrust (basically, me and my husband), we knew it was a good one. We imagined a Chicago-centric event filled with food, music, bands, and performers of the belly-dancing variety, with speakers, an art and fashion gallery, and dozens of vendors. This vision was preserved and expanded over many months with the help of a dedicated group of volunteers, and it finally came true on a cool October day. And what a day it was!
Lines snaked out the front door of Pulaski Park Fieldhouse for hours, seemingly without end, as the first 100 visitors received cruelty-free swag bags (including coveted issues of VegNews Magazine). Everyone in line received five "grub stubs," allowing them the chance to sample free vegan victuals. The chilly fieldhouse soon became warm with the body heat of so many festival-goers and cruelty-free thrill seekers.
A packed house is always a good sign.
The speakers, Dr. Michael Greger, Nathan Runkle, Caryn Hartglass, Dr. Will Tuttle, Rae Sikora, and JC Corcoran, enlightened and educated a packed audience, who ranged from longtime vegans to curious omnivores. In addition to food, we had jewelry vendors, clothing merchants (including Vaute Couture's hot cruelty-free coats), supplements, body care products, and more, all representing the best in vegan merchandise.
Crafts entertained the younger attendees.
Families enjoyed the children's craft area, and spectators viewed performances in the auditorium while eating lunch. It was a day filled with radiant smiles, open hearts, and generous spirits. Incredibly, Chicago VeganMania exceeded our wildest expectations!