I was invited to the Texas VegFest pre-party last night with ATX Vegan Drinks. Located at Cheer Up Charlies on trendy East 6th, this was undoubtedly where all the cool kids were. Cheer Up Charlies is a pleasant little dive with lots of outdoor seating, nice bartenders, and kombucha on tap.
The crowd was young, healthy and totally hipster, pretty typical of East 6th. I was surprised to see how many people traveled to Austin from far away for Texas VegFest. (Love Kale, Will Fly should be the motto of the festival.) They could have taken the easy route with the vegan drink selection, say gin and tonics. But they had a variety of special drinks with lots of fresh squeezed juices. I had one with tequila mixed with fresh pineapple, grapefruit, lemon and lime juices and it was ridiculous. So fresh!
People mingled, buzzed about the festival, and snacked on vegan treats from the surrounding food trucks, Me So Hungry, Handshakes, and Mac’n Food Truck. A raffle to win things like cookbooks, vegan restaurant gift certificates, and personal training sessions benefitted Compassion Over Killing (COK.) This nonprofit animal advocacy group focuses on farm animal cruelty and promotes vegetarian eating.
I spoke with Erica Meier, Executive Director for COK and she talked to me a little about the organization and their involvement with the festival. Based in DC, they are spreading across the country, Austin included, through volunteers and community outreach. By promoting the positive effects of a vegetarian diet, both health and environmental, Erica is hoping to make the issue of agricultural cruelty a mainstream concern. The important thing to know is that every person can make a difference in the what they choose to eat each day.
Texas VegFest is exactly the kind of event that belongs in Austin. To learn more about Austin’s vegan scene visit Red Hot Vegans.