4 things not to miss at St. Louis VegFest Oct. 13

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to go vegan or even simply reduce your use of animal products, the free St. Louis VegFest from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13, at the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park is a great place to get started.

1. The Food
With about 40 (mostly local) food vendors, including Bombay Food Junkies, Seedz Cafe, Pizza Head, Utah Station and St. Louis Juice Press, there will be no shortage of interesting fare.

“It’s like any other food festival, but it’s all veganized,” said VegFest committee chair Sasha Zemmel. “Being vegan doesn’t have to mean you can’t eat fun food. There’s going to be toasted ravioli, Jack in the Box-style tacos, Big Maks and even gooey butter cake. We want to play up the fact that you can still get all your St. Louis favorites as a vegan.”

While there will be plenty of comfort food to go around, there will also be healthy options like salads, sandwiches and fresh, cold-pressed juice.

2. The Speakers
Throughout the day, speakers will delve into various aspects of veganism, from the health implications to eradicating animal cruelty.

“We have a doctor and an athlete and a couple more that will shine a light on some things you might not have thought about before,” Zemmel said. “Ellie Laks from The Gentle Barn will also be speaking. The Gentle Barn, which has a location just about an hour away from St. Louis, rescues and rehabs animals, some that might have been literally hanging on the slaughter line.”

Zemmel aims to inspire change with these presentations. “We’re hoping this will help people to make the switch and go vegan,” she said.

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3. The Vendors
Roughly 30 vendors like Vegan Shirts and Stuff, Harm Less Threads and Peace Love Happy Apothecary will be on-site selling their wares, from clothing and cosmetics to produce. 

“This is the one-stop shop for everything vegan,” Zemmel said. “We hope this will not only show people how to go vegan, but also why.”

4. The Entertainment
Rounding out the festivities will be cooking demos with STL Veg Girl Caryn Dugan, free yoga classes, a DJ spinning tunes and a kids’ corner with games and activities like pumpkin decorating and face painting.

And if veganism isn’t your thing, Zemmel still encouraged St. Louisans to explore the festival.

“It’s not just for vegans,” she said. “We had over 7,000 people last year, mostly non-vegans, and we’re expecting about double this year. This is a growing movement and we want to keep the momentum going forward.”

Lauren Healey is associate editor at Sauce Magazine.