To say last Friday through Sunday were "busy" would be an understatement, but I truly enjoyed my entire time with the 1st Annual Connecticut Veg Fest. Since I was volunteering at the event, I didn't catch every speaker or visit every booth or snap many pictures, but I do have some highlights to share.
* I was primarily running the CT Veg Fest Facebook page over the weekend, and the buzz and excitement was so much fun to track! New 'likes' rolling in by the minute, tags and shares, it was great to watch the anticipation mount.
* I met some really great people who were also volunteering. It was fun to chat with vegan people from the area. Some were very interested in what the Tampa scene is like, and I was happy to write down resources and tips for anyone who asked. Community is huge to me (in so many ways) and I feel so blessed to have found such an amazing one here in Tampa.
* Entrance to the two-day festival was free with the donation of a vegan, healthy food donation for area food banks and chapters of Food Not Bombs. People were SO generous! This picture is just from the first day.
* I was able to sit in on a talk from Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan from Our Hen House. I love their site and podcasts and I was really excited to meet them afterward. Even though I've been veg/vegan for a long time (feels like my entire life, at this point), I love hearing the perspective and stories of other vegans. Everyone's journey is different. I hope I can catch the OHH gals again.
* I met the sassy Chef AJ over the weekend. I unfortunately was only able to catch part of her Sunday morning food demo, but what I did catch resonated with me because I truly feel that I have a sugar/chocolate addiction. On Saturday, AJ told me she really loved my hair and asked if I would bring my hair wax in on Sunday. Sunday afternoon, I styled her hair. She gave me a signed copy of her book, Unprocessed, and wrote a lovely message inside of it. Chef AJ is a hoot and I truly hope to cross paths with her again soon! I can't wait to dive into her book.
* I was amused to meet TWO other Florida vegans in Hartford for the festival! One is a well-known gal that I met at Tampa Bay Veg Fest last October, author Ellen Jaffe Jones.
The other is a woman named Joy who runs Earth Balance Bag, making "tree-free bags from stone."
* There were two classic cases of snooze & lose for yours truly. Saturday morning, another volunteer and I made the rounds to quickly check out the vendors while we had time. I foolishly thought that I could go back later (even a day later) and still find certain things. Tsk, tsk. The first case of this is with Taza chocolate.
The second case of Snooze & Lose happened at the Compassion Company t-shirt table. I think I first heard of them while helping with CT Veg Fest earlier in the year, saw their website, thought they had cool stuff, and looked forward to seeing them at the festival. By the time I came around again on Sunday, they were out of my size. Good thing I can order online! Seriously, how stinkin' cute are these shirts?!
* Vegucated was hosting screenings on both Saturday and Sunday. It drew big crowds and a lot of people were talking about it afterward and on Facebook.
* These gals from The Fanciful Fox and I became fast friends. Their products filled the entire hall with the most amazing, comforting smells. It was like aromatherapy.
* Heaps more great vegan peeps were at the festival, but I couldn't catch 'em all. There were bumps in the road, though, but we all learned from it. All I can say for sure is that everyone who attended the fest LOVED it and they are very excited for next year, which I anticipate to be even bigger and better.