First-ever Victoria Vegan Festival to take bite out of Canada Day
Sarah Kramer hopes some of the revellers who wander into Victoria’s Market Square (560 Johnson Street) this Canada Day will leave inspired to go vegan.
The 43-year-old cookbook author is one of the organizers of the inaugural Victoria Vegan Festival, a free event set to take place on July 1 from noon to 5 p.m.
“I think sometimes, for some people, being vegan or the thought of going vegan is kind of daunting,” Kramer told the Georgia Straight by phone from Sarah’s Place (533 Pandora Avenue), her vegan curio shop in downtown Victoria. “So this is a great way for people to see that vegans live a healthy, happy, fun life, and there’s all these products out there that can make their transition to going vegan easier.”
In line with their opposition to the exploitation of animals, vegans abstain from consuming and using animal products, including dairy, eggs, honey, leather, silk, and wool.
The festival, which Kramer is organizing with Dave Shishkoff of Friends of Animals, will feature a variety of vegan speakers, performers, and vendors. On the main stage, Kramer will host an audience-participation game called Canada’s Next Top Vegan, and the Ukubellas, a ukulele choir, will perform.
Several classroom speakers will share their vegan knowledge. Shannon Mann of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Whale Wars TV series plans to talk about activism, Cooking Vegetarian coauthor Vesanto Melina will discuss nutrition, and World Vegan Feast author Bryanna Clark Grogan will teach a class on making vegan butter.
Scheduled vendors include Vshoen Boutique, Victoria’s first vegan shoe store; Vancouver’s Fairy Cakes and Zimt Artisan Chocolates; and others. A kids’ area will feature face painting, colouring, and vegetable planting.
“I think it’s just like any festival, whether it’s a music festival or a wine festival,” Kramer said. “It’s just really a celebration of our vegan community. So we are encouraging vegans to come and support us, and we are also asking nonvegans to come who are maybe curious about changing their diet or changing their lifestyle. They can come and try out new products, ask questions, or take a class.”
Kramer opened Sarah’s Place in July 2011. She is the author of La Dolce Vegan! and Vegan A Go-Go!, and the coauthor of How It All Vegan! and The Garden of Vegan (with Tanya Barnard). Last November, she put out an iPhone and iPad app called Go Vegan! with Sarah Kramer.
According to Kramer, a few dozen volunteers are helping her and Shishkoff put together the festival, which she hopes will become an annual event. They’ve already established a nonprofit society to oversee it.
“Our vegan community is really supportive of itself, and I really feel like now is sort of the perfect time to have a coming-out party,” Kramer said.