Vegans and non-vegans alike come to Mt. Airy for third annual Vegan Fest
March 19, 2013By Kiera Smalls for NewsWorks, @MtAiryChestnut
Mt. Airy's Weavers Way held its third annual Vegan Fest on Sunday. The event, one of the only vegan festivals in Philadelphia, featured in-store vegan products, live music, food demonstrations and local vegan-friendly businesses. Despite the cold weather, the festival attracted over one hundred vegans and non-vegans.
Jim Bondelle, a non-vegan, attended because his daughter encouraged him to. "I think she's trying to turn me into a vegan because she's one," he joked. Adding, "but the food is delicious."
Priced between $2-$4, veggie hotdogs, sausages, and burgers were available hot from the Weavers Way's grill. Inside the recently renovated Mt. Airy co-op, shoppers and festival attendees sampled vegan chocolate cake, crackers, and WholeSoy & Co. yogurt.
Guests also had a chance to sample a variety of foods like microgreens from Blue Moon Acres, a local farm located in Buckingham, PA, and treats from Pulse Pod, a frozen raw vegan dessert company.
Judy Shabbat, a vegetarian and Glenside resident, noted that while she was enjoyed snacking on her sample of kale chips, "I'm not ready to be vegan."
Weavers Way's business office transformed into a pop-up lounge with live music, a fermentation workshop, Henna tattoo station and a table that offered resources from the American Vegan Society.
Celia De Caumette, who sat in on the live music said she's not vegan but really enjoyed the food and event. "I'm eating an 'Italian sausage' and it's so good," she explained while smiling.
Outside, attendees had an opportunity to taste Café Mills, the new gourmet vegan/vegetarian restaurant at Upsal Station. James Mitchell, principal owner of Café Mills, was excited to participate in this year's festival.
"Business has been great and we want to continue to spread the word to let the community know we're here," he said.
Store Manager Rick Spalek said that Weavers Way wanted to educate its members more on what it means to be vegan.
"We wanted to have this festival because it's [veganism] something we don't really talk about but should," he said.
Mirroring the same efforts to spread information about veganism was Weavers Way Chestnut Hill, who also participated in the Vegan Festival for the first time.
Spalek said turnout was great but that they co-op may look into moving the festival when it's a bit warmer outside.