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How to Plan a VegFest

By Jasmin Singer — January 24, 2014

You know you’ve always wanted to try it yourself. The others are doing it, and they have the stupendous (and sometimes scary) stories to prove it. But something inside you keeps saying, “I can’t possibly…. I wouldn’t even know where to begin!

Begin here.

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Planning a VegFest is not necessarily reserved solely for those in big cities, or even towns which already have a vibrant vegan community. Sometimes, it’s the smaller places, the ones nobody has heard of — the ones that don’t even get mentioned on a map — that are hotbeds for successful, awareness-raising events.

Mariann and I have spoken at dozens and dozens of these throughout the country (and a few outside the country). Some of our favorite ones were started by one passionate vegan who had a vision for a VegFest. One of the beautiful things about small towns is that, generally speaking, if you build it, they will come. Unlike here in NYC, where there are so many events happening that you sometimes have to beg folks to show up (the exception, of course, being the absolutely bustling NYC VegFest — where, incidentally, we are speaking again this year), small towns have been known to really rally behind unique happenings. That means press, buzz, attendance, and new vegans.

Several years ago, we even made a video, VegFest MashUp, highlighting a few of our faves.

Thanks to the great folks at Compassionate Action for Animals (don’t miss OHH’s Q&A with their Executive Director Unny Nambudiripad), you can now have, at your fingertips, a handy cheat sheet on how to plan a VegFest, from start to finish.

This is the guide that you’ve always wanted (and it’s the one that current VegFest organizers are going to be annoyed about, since they had to figure it out on their own, without this great list). Divided into time markers (“Getting Started”; “Next Steps”; “Three Months Out”; “The Last Month”; “Today is the Day”; and “You’re Not Done Yet”), this how-to includes everything from sample documents, to tips on recruiting exhibitors as well as volunteers, to how to put together a fantastic swag bag, to, well, just about everything else you can think of (and loads and loads you haven’t thought of).

I’m wildly impressed by this new resource that Compassionate Action for Animals has created. I truly think that VegFests are the perfect way to attract the veg-curious, and those are exactly the folks we want to be wooing with our delectable food, impressive speakers, and vital message. I hope that this incredible new resource gets out there to anyone who has a penchant for event planning and a passion for animal rights. And I hope that, as a result, there are thousands more VegFests worldwide. Consider me grabbed.

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