Sunday, April 3, 2011

NYC Vegetarian Festival

I had purchased a VIP ticket, and to coin an aviation term, I was spiraling into a depression when I was assigned a flight the same day as the New York City Vegetarian Food Festival.  The way the schedule worked out I would have about 10 minutes to pick up my bag of goodies, take a quick look around and still be at work on time.

As I rolled down 7th Ave at 0845 I saw plenty of parking spaces and figured, since this was Sunday and there are no parking restrictions, I'd see how close I could get to the Altman Building on West 18th Street.  I rolled into a parking space right on the corner, a mere half a block away, at about 0900.  I had a bunch of business cards with the blog on it and my ticket on iPhone and figured I'd see what I could see.  There was no one on line.  The very first thing I could see was the real life incarnation of one of my first Twitter followers:

This was actually shot when I was leaving and there WAS a line.  Unfortunately I didn't have time to wait and purchase anything.  I will, I promise, hunt you down in Hoboken!

Inside the building was an amazing site as table after table was manned, (and womanned), and being set up.  There were tables for causes and tables for products.  It was a health food store on steroids.
I walked around and said hello to many of the vendors and volunteers, sneaking a quick taste, (actually allowing the folks to use me as a guinea pig and hone their sales spiel before the serious buyers showed up), at some and picking up literature at others.  I'll give you a more detailed description of the VIP bag when I get home since it's in my car at the airport in N.J.

There really was something for everyone here.

Yes I did glance back at the Snail more than once.
To name but a few, Meetup, Rescue Chocolates, Teese and the Chicago Soy Dairy, Plaintain Chips, Earth Balance with their new Organic Soy milk and butter replacement, Loving Hut, PETA, Sea Shephard, Rynn Berry and new software for the iPhone, Clean Plates, another food guide for NYC, Faux Gras, (yes it was me that messed up your 2 displays but I had to take a little swipe and now I DO KNOW WHAT THE BUZZ is about, Our Hen House, MFA, Loving Hut, A Peanut Butter vendor, many many vegan baking people and vegan candy/protein bars, Foodswings (I so wish I could have stuck around and taste your food!), Ayinde of Ieatgrass legend, and a many more that I just can't remember right now but the full vendor list is here.

There was someone I wanted to say hello to everywhere I looked.

When I left the lines had already formed and the Cinnamon Snail was in full crawl.

I knew if I got any closer my mouth would start to water as I was thinking about lunch already.

Standing almost on 7th Avenue.  There was another line from the door to 6th Ave.  I heard some people waited for 3 hours to get in and others gave up when they saw the line wrap around to 19th Street.
I sort of thought that there was way too small a space for this many people but I can't help but rejoice, yes rejoice is the word, that this was such a blowout.  I already know I'm taking a vacation day next year and showing up at 6AM if need be.

My biggest disappointment was missing all of the cooking demos and not having time to talk to so many more people.  This is how we grow folks, 4000 facebook likes at a time.


Abby Bean said...

Marty, I can't believe how empty the venue is in your pics; were VIPs let in before 10? Because from 10:15 on the whole place was a in-navigatable mobscene.

ckwebgrrl said...

I'm glad you got a good look around in the short time you were there! Thanks for the review and pics, hope you get to taste all the goodies next year :)

Marty said...

Hi Abby and ck,

I got there around nine am and just asked at the door if I could go inside and say hello to some people since I knew I'd be out right after the doors opened. The pics were before the doors "officially" opened and people were still setting up.

I did sign the VIP list when I left. I think I said hi to almost everyone there. I'm definitely taking a day off next year. I'm sure there will be twice the amount of vendors! ... and guests!!!

Ali - YumVeggieBurger said...

wow, very different than when I arrived in the afternoon! You probably wouldn't have wanted to stick around any longer than you did, it got so crowded that it was nearly impossible to even walk from one table to another... not as much fun as I had hoped it would be. Just light fighting through a crowd at a concert the whole time :(

Eric said...

glad you made it before it got crazy. id love to go next year but im not too good at waiting in lines :)

Marty said...

Ali, so sorry you didn't have a good time. I had to leave before many of the samples were put out. Abby Bean said it best, it was a taste not a meal replacement.

Next year I'm going to prewait and get on line the night before, Eric!

Thanks for stopping by.

The Food Relationship Coach™ said...

I was at the NYC Vegetarian Festival as well and thought it was super awesome. Glad you missed the line!

Marty said...

Hi Coach,
Sorry I didn't see your post sooner. Yes, I got there super early and knew I'd have to be out the door before they opened officially. I just wanted to say hi to some people, many I missed, and really look forward to next years festival.

I hope they sell out the Javits Center and there is no more than a 10 minute wait!

Thanks for stopping by.