It’s not often that I find something that I want to go see or do in Charlotte. So, when I stumbled across an ad for Charlotte (N.C.) Vegfest, I knew I had to go. These days it’s easier to forage for food as a vegan, but festivals, especially in this part of the country don’t cater to my dietary issues. Let’s face it; I can’t even get a meal during Charlotte’s highly touted restaurant week, where highbrow restaurants offer special prix fixe menus.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect at Vegfest, after all, I do live in the South.
I headed over to Plaza Midwood, an area of town that I actually like a lot, but hardly ever visit. Yet, after every visit I say…I should really hang out here more often. The neighborhood has two vegetarian restaurants, vintage clothing stores, antique stores, a record store (yes, vinyl), bars, coffee shops, etc.
Vegfest was maybe a two-block span, but the vendors included some of my favorite stores and local food producers. Whole Foods, Earth Fare, be yoga, biodwell, rah-rah-Raw, Viva Raw, Novel Sweets, Tofurky, Juice Plus, Beverly’s Gourmet Foods, Zizi’s Restaurant, and a variety of pet, energy and recycling organizations.
I noticed the raw food movement seems to be very popular in Charlotte. Not a massive festival, but a good turnout – comfortable to walk around and lines had a short wait.
I grabbed a tasty juice with beets and about four other veg/fruits that I can’t remember, and walked around in the 80-degree weather. I was listening to one of the speakers, a doctor, when I overheard someone saying Leilani was speaking next. I figured there probably couldn’t be two Leilani’s in Charlotte, so I stuck around and I was right. Leilani Munter, my favorite race car driving environmental advocate was speaking. What’s not to like — she has a degree in biology, works with the team that produced the film “The Cove,” is a vegan, drives a fast car…
As a girl who once worked in NASCAR, I can appreciate how difficult it is to not only explain veganism, but to convince people to give up meat, even one day a week as she is attempting. For her it’s not only about health or not killing animals, it’s about reducing the carbon footprint. Basically, it was a nice surprise to run into her there.
Aside from dark chocolate, I’m not much of a fan of sweets — cakes, candy, etc., probably because of the dairy thing. Though I occasionally want a brownie or cookie, but on my way out I couldn’t resist Novel Sweets. Chocolate/Peanut Butter Cupcake — it was yummo!
Vegfest was a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.