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Veg Fest in Austin
leslie c. Posted at 2010/10/04 10:47am reply to

leslie c.
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Hi everyone!   There has been some talk over the last few years about organizing a Veg Fest here in Austin.  I've heard this mentioned by various groups/individuals at various times and seem to remember someone even mentioning it on this forum at some point, but I'm not sure that anyone has moved forward with it.  There are certainly enough people that would be interested in organizing one.  I think it's just a matter of us all working together to make it happen.  

What do you say we finally form a committee and figure this all out?   I really feel that our community is strong enough to put this together and it's about time we did!  

I think the first thing to figure out is who would be interested in being on a planning committee.  Since there is quite a bit of work involved with organizing a fest, the more the merrier!  Maybe we can all put a call out for volunteers with various organizations, since not everyone visits this forum on a regular basis.  

What do you guys think?  happy

jackieo Posted at 2010/10/04 12:25pm reply to

jackieo
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What sorts of events would be part of this fest?
Ross Posted at 2010/10/04 1:56pm reply to

Ross
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Yeah this is definitely a great idea, it'd be awesome to get something put together with support from big names like Tofurky, Amy's, etc. for a big Austin veggie fest.

I can't really gauge quite yet how big of a role I'd be able to take in planning, but I definitely would love for VRA to be involved.
leslie c. Posted at 2010/10/04 2:37pm reply to

leslie c.
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Sponsorship is definitely a good idea, Ross!  I've made note of the businesses you suggested.

Here are my thoughts on what could be included in the itinerary for the fest:

Cooking Demos: There are several celebrity chefs that we could contact to come down. Some charge fees, but others do not.  I know of one in particular that I might be able to get a hold of and see if he and the company he represents would be interested in participating.

Speakers - We can invite representatives from farm sanctuaries, authors, physicians, dieticians, etc.  I have compiled a rather long list of various people who have spoken at other veg festivals in the past, as well as some that I know would be interested if they had the opportunity to speak.  

Artists - I love the idea of setting up a "gallery" where vegan artists can display their work.  I know of a few that might be interested in this.  

Fashion Show - Ok, this one is a long shot, but there are definitely some vegan designers out there who might be interested.  Suggestions?

Exhibitors:  Restaurants, products, and services of those promoting the veg lifestyle.

Children's Activities:  any ideas on this one?

Discounts:  Maybe we can arrange for festival goers to show their ticket at local shops and restaurants to receive discounts the weekend of the festival.

Musicians:  We'll need to keep this one in mind when choosing a venue!


Craig? Posted at 2010/10/05 11:25am reply to

Craig?
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this sounds AWESOME!!
Daniela Posted at 2010/10/05 2:01pm reply to

Daniela
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Count me in on the committee!
fletcherism Posted at 2010/10/05 6:43pm reply to

fletcherism
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I hope you all won't mind that I'd like to contribute. I got a lot of positive responses and encouragement this past weekend after the Gathering of the Tribes, and I feel like I should continue to work this way to help advance and improve our growing community.

There is no doubt that the Gathering of the Tribes will take place again in April. And I also had the notion from the very beginning that it would likely become an annual event. When I think about that in connection with Leslie's idea for a larger veg fest, I can see a scenario where the April potluck (assuming the 2011 event works well in terms of logistics, weather and attendance) is the Gathering that becomes annual, and the veg fest could take its place the last weekend of September or first weekend of October. The reason I thought of that scenario is that this last weekend we just had will probably continue to work well in terms of not conflicting with other major events in Austin, and it would also be most likely to be comfortable and pleasant outdoors. And just a great time of year to have a veg fest. The dates could be swapped too. But my personal opinion is that we want to stay away from summer and winter.

I'm not saying I'm opposed to the Gathering being part of a veg fest, but I think the veg fest could and should be larger than we could comfortably do as a potluck. We had 121 people (officially) this past weekend, and I don't think it could be much larger without being too big to work as a potluck. I also like the idea of having a potluck for our community to have its own celebration (like this past weekend), in addition to a larger event where we're trying to draw as many people (veg and non-veg) as possible (which a veg fest should do). I think people will agree with me that it'd be great to do both events. (I promise I won't drag us into the dark next time!)

I wish I could go into more detail right now, but there's something that I've been approached about for next year- a possibility that, if it worked with the other ideas for the veg fest, just might make it a two-day event. It may sound like that's thinking too big to start off with but it has some advantages. Hopefully I'll be able to bring this to the table within the next couple of months.
leslie c. Posted at 2010/10/05 7:09pm reply to

leslie c.
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>Count me in on the committee!>
yay, Daniela!!


>I hope you all won't mind that I'd like to contribute. I got a lot of positive responses and encouragement this past weekend after the Gathering of the Tribes, and I feel like I should continue to work this way to help advance and improve our growing community.
>

your participation is more than welcome!  by all means, please share any words of wisdom, suggestions, and ideas you have.

i agree that October would be great timing for a fest.  the weather is usually quite beautiful and it will give us enough time to plan this.  i'm glad to hear that you are making the Gathering of the Tribes an annual event.  it was a great night!

would anyone be interested in having a meeting to brainstorm about the fest?  any specific day/evening that would work for you?
fletcherism Posted at 2010/10/07 10:27am reply to

fletcherism
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We could discuss it at the Conscious Cravings meetup on Friday the 15th. I'll be there.
Elan Posted at 2010/10/07 1:49pm reply to

Elan
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i'm down for the committee too.  excellent idea, leslie -- and your list of possibilities for the itinerary is really exciting. the NYC Veg Fest this year was mostly just vendor tables with lots of ad literature and two small stages with people talking about going vegan.  
Ross Posted at 2010/10/07 1:53pm reply to

Ross
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Yeah those ideas sound fantastic! happy
peter Posted at 2010/10/07 6:25pm reply to

peter
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Everything sounds awesome.  I'm not sure how much I could help, but I'm sure I could do something.  Thanks, Leslie!

happy
Amelia Posted at 2010/10/07 9:02pm reply to

Amelia
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There is a vegetarian expo coming to Austin next summer. We could go and solicit vendors for support/endorsements for our own fest next year.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vegetarian-Products-Expo/111570792197747
http://www.vegetarianproductsexpo.com/
http://www.vegetarianproductsexpo.com/travel.html
Not Wes Posted at 2010/10/07 10:26pm reply to

Not Wes
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I don't know how I can help, but I'd be more than happy to.
Jessica. Posted at 2010/10/07 10:33pm reply to

Jessica.
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I think it's definitely time for this to happen in Austin. I've been to many veg fests in other states and it'll take a lot of work to pull it off, but it will be totally worth it.

It'd be nice to have as much of an emphasis of Texas veg businesses/speakers/exhibitors, etc. as possible... maybe giving them first pick, or cheaper table rate, or whatever. We really want to show off our great local vegan fare!

Venue/Hotel... I'd think we'd want to keep it on the lower end of the price spectrum to encourage folks to fly in from out of town. If we can find a large enough venue, or a hotel with multiple conference rooms, and pack it full of vendors... the individual ticket prices wouldn't have to be so expensive.

Also, one gripe I've had about flying to conferences, is after you pay for a plane ticket, a hotel room, your entry to the conference, your meal plan... there's no after party planned for going out on the town and experiencing what the locals have to offer. So you end up heading to the hotel room or trying to figure out some bus schedule to go site-seeing. Anyway, not a big deal, but it'd be cool to set something up for people who aren't exhausted each evening to check out Austin.

I don't know, I'm kind of rambling. It'd be fun to help plan!
leslie c. Posted at 2010/10/08 12:34pm reply to

leslie c.
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This is so great!  I'm happy that so many of us want to make this happen.  

I like Brendan's idea about getting together at the Conscious Cravings meet-up next Friday.  Does that work for everyone?  We can brainstorm about what we would like to see at the fest and, if anyone has a preference of what they would like to work on, we can make note of that, as well.

@Jessica - Those are all really great suggestions!  I've never had the opportunity to attend a veg fest, so your insight is extremely helpful.

@Amelia - I had no idea that this expo was coming!  Thanks for posting that info.
BeccaGreenIsland Posted at 2010/10/11 1:32am reply to

BeccaGreenIsland
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I'd love to help out with planning too and would be on the committee,
these are my ideas/input so far..

1. We could call it "Austin Veg Out" or "Veg out Austin"
I like the prefix veg so that way it invites vegetarians and vegans and I think "Veg Out" sounds fun and we could just ask vendors to clearly label on the front of their booth either the word vegetarian or vegan to quickly identify which is which, although I'm vegan and so is my business I don't see the need to require it to be strictly vegan, I think we could have vegetarian booths too as long as they're clearly labeled, I think this would help to include as many possible in the veg community/businesses

2. October would be good bc its also world vegetarian month and early in the month the weather is still nice

3. outdoor with covered booths would be nice also, to enjoy the weather, maybe at one of the parks or farmers markets

4. I like having music, art show, fashion, food and vendor booths and prizes, speakers and cooking demos

5. I also agree with Jessica about trying to promote local businesses over non-local, there are some great big name brands that may be interested but I think festivals lose their charm if they're focused on companies not based here, we have a lot of great local veg businesses to show-case

6. I know Green Island would be interested in having a food booth to sell food



leslie c. Posted at 2010/10/11 10:22am reply to

leslie c.
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Thanks, Becca!  

I like "Veg Out Austin", but I did a Google search and noticed that someone has already claimed that domain name and uses it as the title for their blog. It would be good to have something entirely new for our city.  I like "Austin Veg Out", which is a nice play on words and "VegFest Austin", since that unmistakably notes it's a festival.  What about "The Great Austin Veg Out", to give it a bigger sound?

I fully agree that local veg businesses should have first dibs on booths/tables and a discount on registration.  I would love to have a table for The Gilded Gardenia at the Vegetarian Expo, but the cost of a booth is way out of my budget.  I hate to think of how many of our local veg businesses won't be there, because of the same issue.  However, I think it would be in our best interest to also include some of the larger veg businesses, as Ross suggested, in order to open up sponsorship.  In addition to early and discounted registration, maybe we can think of another way to showcase our local businesses, while still allowing outside vendors to participate.

Yay for a Green Island food booth!!  I love the idea of having this outdoors.  Anyone have location suggestions?



peter Posted at 2010/10/11 5:15pm reply to

peter
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I vote for keeping the name simple (Austin Veg Fest, etc.), and for keeping it indoors in case there are issues with either weather or daylight.

With the name, keep references to Texas out of it.  Blue-staters may have a psychological aversion to the word itself, so mentioning it could backfire if your goal is to get a degree of national attention.  As a "Yankee" myself, I admit that we don't usually give this state enough credit.
fletcherism Posted at 2010/10/11 11:44pm reply to

fletcherism
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Location: I've done some looking in to this. There are very very few places that are inexpensive and offer the advantages of all-weather, alchohol permission, etc. I'd really like to conduct an exhaustive study of this, if I can put the time together.

One example that frustrates me is Fiesta Gardens, beside Town Lake, where SXSW has had their volunteer party in the past. I really like it, but the rental fee for a day for a commercial event (which our festival probably would be) is $1450, which would make it virtually impossible without some major sponsor support. But I wonder, if we got cracking on this early enough, say January (in terms of approaching potential partners), would it be possible to put together enough support to secure such a place for October?

Name: I was tossing around some possibilities for another project idea of mine that I set aside in favor of the Gathering of the Tribes. One I came up with that I liked was Veg'EmATX. You could pronounce it by sounding out the words "Veg 'Em A-T-X", or like the Ron Popeil product: "Vegematics". If other people like it, I'll be happy for the festival to use it.
Ross Posted at 2010/10/12 8:17am reply to

Ross
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I also vote for something simple like VegFest Austin or the like. You don't have to worry about any confusion of what it is or how it's spelled, etc.
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