It’s no secret that Portland is home to a lot of vegans. (Our best guess is that 6% of Portlanders avoid all animal products.) And with warnings of meat causing cancer and spurring climate change hitting the mainstream, even hardcore carnivores are giving veggie burgers a second look these days. Whether you’re a cruelty-free crusader or still skeptical of the whole “no cheese” concept, the 11th annual Portland VegFest is a great place to learn more about veganism… or just snack for six hours straight.
Eats: If you equate “vegan food” with “tragic salad,” prepare to have your mind blown. Did you know that local favorites Brew Dr. Kombucha, Missionary Chocolates, and Petunia’s Pies & Pastries are all vegan? Expect to see them slinging samples, along with dozens of other brands touting plant-based treats from coconut caramels and chocolate-chip cookies to creamy cheese spreads and mock meats—think bacon, burgers, sausages and even pepperoni hot pockets. And if you're still hungry after hundreds of samples, meals are available for purchase from plant-based superstars like Portobello, Snackrilege, and Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ.
Goods: For many animal lovers, veganism is more than merely a diet—it’s a pledge to avoid all products that exploit animals. To that end, attendees can stock up on cruelty-free tees, handbags, beauty products, and even reusable menstrual products from Portland’s GladRags.
Talks: Whether you’re interested in fighting cancer with whole foods, raising vegan children, starting a new vegan business, or simply honing your gluten-free vegan baking skills, VegFest’s diverse lineup of lectures will help you succeed. Don’t miss the keynote talk by Dan Piraro, the cartoonist behind the 30-year-old Bizarro comic strip.
Animals: Do you dream of petting pigs? Local farm sanctuaries, humane societies, and animal advocacy organizations will be tabling at the event, stocked with adorable photos and information on volunteering for a noble, cuddly cause.
Details: VegFest takes place November 14–15 from 10am to 6pm in the Oregon Convention Center. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased here. (Use the code “2015PDXVF” for a dollar off admission!) The event is open to attendees of all diets and lifestyles, so whether you’re an herbivorous foodie or curious carnivore, check out the VegFest website for a full schedule.