By Rachneet Randhawa, October 1 2021—
The fourth annual VegFest made an appearance once more on Sept. 4 and is known as Western Canada’s largest outdoor vegan food and lifestyle festival. The first VegFest took place in 2017 and since, the festival has tripled in size with over 15,000 in attendance every year.
The one-day event takes place at Shaw Millenium Park and invites people from all walks of life to an immersive vegan experience featuring local food trucks, vegan artisan vendors, knowledgeable industry speakers, local musicians, family-friendly beer gardens, a kid activity zone and is dog friendly.
I arrived shortly before 2 p.m. to find a hustling and bustling venue full of food vendors, a day market full of amazing and trending sustainable goodies, nonprofits raising awareness for advocacy and a live music performance by the beer gardens. Overall my outing consisted of checking out some local businesses, grabbing a bite to eat at Vegan Street Eats — the 2020 winner of the Best Vegan Meal in Calgary — and lastly enjoying the remainder of the live performances including soul and hip-hop duo A.Y.E. and the Extraordinary Gentlemen. There was also a Drag King and Drag Queen show in partnership with Calgary Pride which finished off the evening with casual drinks from Eau Claire Distillery.
I was quite impressed with the diverse showcase of local businesses that sold sustainable goods including everything from plant-based food and snacks to handbags made of 100 per cent pressed leaves by Leafii to organic makeup brand Ali Roche selling cosmetics with clean ingredients. Even if you were a newbie to being eco-friendly, let alone living a vegan lifestyle, you are bound to find a pick-me-up and self-care product you like at the festival due to the diverse palette of products and services in the burgeoning market for sustainable and organic products. From the scrumptious food to the shopping and entertainment alongside the nonprofit advocacy, it was truly a far-out festival. So “lettuce” be thankful for such amazing initiatives here in Calgary as we “keep calm and carrot on.”
Sustainable U is a regular column focused on sustainability. This column is part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet’s editorial board.