Whether it was the picture-perfect weather, the joyful throwdown by Erykah Badu or the corny dogs – veggie, of course – the fourth annual Texas Veggie Fair was a smash hit and record-setter, too.
The fair, which took place on Sunday at Reverchon Park, continued its exponential growth, drawing a crowd of 7,000 – up from last year's 5,000, also a record setter.
This year boasted a few new features. Trinity Hall Pub hosted a popular beer garden. An extended kids' area offered more arts and games. And recycle bins were installed by Recycle Revolution, making it an eco-friendly event – an extra effort that's rare in the festival world.
The speakers' stage included author Carol Adams, who wrote the highly influential 1990 book The Sexual Politics of Meat; and activist Nick Cooney, founder of The Humane League, whose mission is to reduce the suffering of farm animals.
Vendors sold vegan T-shirts, "Eat Kale" jewelry and VitaMix blenders, the must-have gadget for those who observe a raw diet. Animal advocacy groups such as sponsor Mercy For Animals erected booths. Whole Foods hosted a demo station starring chefs such as vegan chef John Mercer and Najat Kaanache, of new Trinity Groves restaurant Souk. There was free yoga, and live music.
But the big thing was the food, all vegan, meaning no meat, dairy or eggs. Food trucks such as Nammi and Good Karma Kitchen lined up next to booths from every vegan-friendly in town and some out of town. Veggie Garden had a glistening veggie stir-fry; Be Raw sold pad Thai made from zucchini noodles. Denton Vegan Cooperative served spicy tofu curry in a wrap.
The longest lines of the day were for Austin's famed Capital City Bakery, who sold brownies, pumpkin cupcakes and a thick cheesecake with berry jam; and Tough Cookie Bakery, maker of the Corn Dawg, a vegan version of the corny dog that was just like the real thing.