Huge vegan food fest plants new roots in meat-loving Houston
As any Houstonian knows, our city is a proud meat mecca, a capital of all things ’cue, choice cuts, and carne. So could a town that witnesses myriad barbecue bashes — not to mention a new steakhouse opening seemingly every month, support an annual vegan festival?
The founders of Vegandale Food Drink Festival say yes.
“We are expecting 8,000 to 10,000 vegan and vegan curious Houstonians, and people from all across Texas, to come out to our inaugural Houston Vegandale Food Drink Festival,” Eva Lampert, the festival’s spokesperson, tells CultureMap.
The first annual Houston fest will take place take place on Saturday, June 2, from 11 am-7 pm, at Sam Houston Park, with early bird tickets — starting at $10 — now on sale.
As CultureMap reported last year, Houston is just behind Austin as the most vegetarian-and-vegan-friendly city in the nation, and thus, Lampert says festival leaders are impressed by our city’s scene. “We have been drooling over the vegan options we’ve seen popping up in Houston,” she says. “Many people believe all the vegans are in other states, but we know that our festival will help continue proving that Houston is vegan-friendly, and then some.”
Already a hit in New York City, Chicago, and Toronto (organizers say more than 75,000 guests have attended across those three cities), the fast-growing festival aims to smash stereotypes of vegan food, by offering veganized comfort foods such as barbecue, burgers, mac n’ cheese, and brownie sundaes. Attendees can also expect craft beers on tap, wine, live music, and art installations.
Vegandale started on a Toronto street with a collective of vegan businesses, and has since evolved into the brand that’s now expanding across North America, “to show the world the ease and enjoyment of living without the use of animals,” says Lampert.
Time will tell how many Houstonians choose to go green at Vegandale, but Lampert says that the first it’s the start of a mission: “We want to celebrate Houston’s abundance of incredible vegan food and drink options, and to bring in exciting out of town vendors doing the same work of making sure everyone can enjoy great food without the use of animals.”
The Vegandale Food Drink Festival runs from 11 am to 7 pm Saturday, June 2 at Sam Houston Park, 1000 Bagby St. Tickets start at $15.