A Taste of Vegan in Phoenix: experiencing the first Phoenix Vegan Food Festival

By: Madison DeHaven

The Phoenix Food Festival event logo.
The Phoenix Food Festival event logo.

Getting more involved in the Phoenix community was one of my goals for this year, since it would be a great way to learn about new people, places, and interests. When a friend mentioned there would be a vegan food festival happening in town, I looked it up immediately.

To my delight, the Phoenix Vegan Food Festival was asking for volunteers for their event on Saturday, February 27 via Facebook. Considering my love of food, especially of the vegan and vegetarian varieties, I signed up for clean-up without a second thought. This allowed me free admission to the last hour of the event and time to explore before helping pack up.

The event, which was hosted by Davisson Entertainment, took place at the Phoenix Theatre and Phoenix Art Museum Campus. Restaurants and other vegan food vendors from the Phoenix area set up booths for guests to learn about their businesses and provided samples to taste. General admission cost was $25, and kids 12 years and under were free. There was also a VIP option for $60. This could get you into the event an hour early and gave you extra goodies and a meet and greet.

Once I arrived and took a look around, I was glad I did not have to pay for admission. It was quite a small event and, considering most people would buy food and products there, seemed a bit costly to me.

Despite this, I enjoyed walking around and talking to some of the vendors. I tried a piece of dark chocolate from Wei of Chocolate, which blends sweet treats with spirituality. 24 Carrots, a cafe and juicery located in Tempe, had samples of granola, a unique chai tea blend with coconut and almond milk, and cold brew coffee. I also stopped by a booth for Pomegranate Cafe, whose menu changes depending on the seasonal, local food available.

It wasn’t just food vendors at the event. Green Living had magazines to take home and a guess-how-many prize contest. Local volunteers representing PETA offered pamphlets on how to have a more vegan lifestyle, information on the organization, and adorable animal-supporting stickers. An organization I was not familiar with, the Animal Defense League of Arizona (ADLA), was also there. They work on widespread animal protection projects and spread information on related legislature in the state.

I picked up a ton of souvenirs, of course. (Photo by Madison DeHaven)
I picked up a ton of souvenirs, of course.
(Photo by Madison DeHaven)

I do wish I’d had the chance to see all the live music at the event. As I was waiting for my volunteer shift to start, I enjoyed the last few songs from Soulective, who enthusiastically covered various funk and soul tunes.

Overall, I think the Phoenix Vegan Food Festival was a great idea. The vendors that I spoke with were incredibly friendly and informative, and there were certainly more that I wish I’d talked with. Hopefully, if they decide to have the event again, it will have already gained the attention of more people in the community so that it can grow. Even though I am not vegan, learning how to be more compassionate towards animals and getting to know the local food community is something I think many would benefit from.

To see the full list of food trucks and vendors that participated in the festival, visit the event page here.

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