The countdown is on for the return of the annual Texas Veggie Fair, the largest and longest-running vegan festival in Texas. The 2018 fair is the ninth year for this ever-growing event, and takes place on Saturday, October 27, from 11 am-6 pm at Reverchon Park.
This year's fair has a particularly muscular lineup, with first-time speakers that include activist, athlete, and entrepreneur Dominick Thompson, who will deliver a talk on "Redefining Masculinity Through Veganism."
Thompson earned some attention in April in an exchange with Dwaine Johnson, who posted a photo of himself clamping the jaws of an alligator.
"If you are in doubt you will lose your size or masculinity, come hang with me," Thompson said. "I can eat and lift just as much as you. Except, I’m vegan."
Other heavyweights appearing at the fair include competitive powerlifter Daniel Austin, ultra marathoner and Indoor Rowing World Record holder Austin Barbisch, certified personal trainer Lauren Iden, and NFF Bikini Pro Shaneve Swift, who will speak on a panel about eating and training as a vegan athlete.
To celebrate Halloween weekend, there will be a Companion Animal Costume Contest, along with a costume parade and trick-or-treating for kids.
This year's fair is expected to welcome tens of thousands of guests who will enjoy a variety of plant-based foods, products from local and national vendors, speakers, cooking demos, live music, a beer garden, yoga and kids' activities, and more.
The number of vendors is at an all-time high of 50, with newbies such as Fana Yohannes, owner of Carver Park, who will introduce a new cuisine to the fair with her Ethiopian specialties including azifa (green lentil salad), miser wat (red lentil stew), and gomen (collard greens with garlic, ginger, and spices.
There will be cooking demos with Cafe Momentum sous chef John Mercer and Daniela Lais, co-author of the Vegan on the Go and Easy Vegan Baking cookbooks.
The Arias family, who own renowned vegan Mexican restaurant El Palote Panadería, will host a cooking demonstration in Spanish.
Dallas-area plant-based doctors Rizwan Bukhari and Douglas Won will participate in a health panel along with Texas Veggie Fair mainstay Nyse Collins, CEO and Director of Health and Education Services for SanareLife.
These panels and another focused on green living will be moderated by Kristi Comuzzi, the award-winning host and executive producer of the "Shootin' the Breeze" radio show.
Local artists Daniel "Dflo" Flores and Exotension will perform live on the Music Stage presented by Blue Circle Media. DJR Music will open the day with a DJ set.
Trinity Hall Irish Pub will provide a local beer garden featuring vegan-friendly beverages. Isha Foundation will offer yoga and meditation sessions.
Texas Veggie Fair's mission is to bring together, educate, and expand the plant-based community regionally, nationally, and worldwide; display alternatives to the norm of destructive, violent food and product production; and provide a positive, entertaining, and educational experience in a fun, welcoming environment.
Texas Veggie Fair is family- and dog-friendly, free, and open to the public.