This summer, I made a new vegan friend named Helene. I actually met her via Facebook through Julie and Amanda. But, then life went in such a way that we were able to meet in real life at a Train concert.
Helene is kind and passionate about doing things for her community. She is the organizer of the Triangle Vegfest. The 2nd annual Triangle Vegfest is to be held October 17, 2015 from noon to 5:00pm at Moore Square and City Market in Downtown Raleigh, NC. I’ve been fortunate to be a volunteer this year and have seen just a little of the hard work that goes into planning an event like this. I’m so appreciative of Helene and the rest of the crew for putting in so much effort to benefit the community this way.
Helene was kind enough to grant me an interview amidst all the planning so you can find out more about her and Triangle Vegfest. There’s even an announcement about Triangle Vegfest that hasn’t been published anywhere else yet. Thanks for giving us the inside scoop, Helene!
What inspired you to start a Vegfest in the Triangle area?
Last year I finished my practicum for my masters degree and had about four months off before starting my final semester and full-time internship. I didn’t have enough time to get a job, but wanted to do something with my time. I had thought about creating a Vegfest previously and now with the time and the inclination I decided to see if there was any interest. I set up a volunteer meeting and found there was interest and that the area could really benefit from this type of festival. The Triangle deserves to have something like this. We have an amazing community, which is incredibly supportive. Triangle Vegfest was born in June of 2014! Why me? I’m crazy enough and organized enough to take on this huge undertaking. I strive to do well and to make this an incredible festival. Triangle Vegfest has changed me. It’s not just about the food. Our festival is about sharing the plant-based lifestyle with our whole community. It’s for all the animals and making sure they have a voice while at the same time our community partaking in a very fun event!
What’s your favorite part of organizing Vegfest?
I continue to be amazed by our community. I feel the support and the volunteers who help with the festival are amazing. The support I receive and the happiness others have because of this festival make it worth all the hard work and energy it takes to put it together. This truly is a collaborative effort!
If an attendee only had one hour to spend at this year’s Vegfest, how would you suggest they spend it?
First, one hour is not enough! Everyone should plan on being at the festival for the whole 5 hours. I’ll announce this here first before anyone else hears it: Plant Pure Nation will be shown after the festival from 7-9pm with a Q&A by Kim and Nelson Campbell. Tickets will be $5 with proceeds going to PPN and TVF. The showing will be in our indoor space: Market Hall. So, if you can only make it for one hour I would say listen to the music, check out all our vendors, and maybe check out one of our many speakers/cooking demos. Seriously though, the festival is set up in a way where you can be busy for the full five plus hours. (Dawn’s note: I completely agree that an hour is not enough)
What’s the one question you’d love to answer about Vegfest that never gets asked? And what’s the answer to that question?
This is a great question, which I don’t know if I have an answer. Why do I do something that doesn’t pay me any income and takes up so much of my time? This is my passion. This is my baby. I will continue to help it grow and turn TVF into the best vegan festival around. TVF is a non-profit so this also affords me the opportunity to do outreach and fundraising, which in turn helps others in our community. This is just the way I am, which is why I’m probably one of the best people to take it on.
What is your favorite veggie product? It can be something new or an old standby.
There are SO many veggie products I love. Hmm, Just Mayo is a favorite. I take a jar that is half full and turn it into an agave mustard salad dressing. It’s yummy. Go Max Go vegan gluten free candy bars are to die for. Local favorites: Ada’s Cupcakes and Joie de Vegan cakes/tarts are amazing as well.
It’s so been so exciting to see the growth of Triangle Vegfest. One thing that’s changed this year is that there will be some national vendors. One such vendor is Hope Foods out of Boulder, CO.
If you haven’t heard of Hope Foods, check them out. They use organic ingredients and a high pressure process that allows them to package their hummus and superfood dips without heat or artificial ingredients.
So far, I’ve only tried the Dark Chocolate dip and it is amazing. It is made up primarily of chickpeas, cocoa and cane sugar. There is a bit of a chickpea texture to it, but I don’t find it off-putting at all. The chocolate is dark and rich without being super sweet. I’ve tried it on grapes, apples, and strawberries. It’s delicious on all, but the strawberries were my favorite. It makes sense. After all, they have a picture of a strawberry right on the package.
I’m looking forward to visiting the Hope Foods booth at this year’s Triangle Vegfest and I hope you’ll join me!