I’ve been going to the DC VegFest since 2012. The first year I attended, I was quite impressed! I was early enough to get a swag bag (but still, not super early), I got to try Vegan Treats for the third time in my life, I bought some vegan tanks and gifts, I ate some amazing food, and then I was on my way back home — belly filled with tasty food and my bag filled with vegan loot.
The next year I attended, the Vegan Treats line was slightly longer and the booths were a bit more crowded. Last year, after leaving, I vowed to never go again, at least not without someone to keep my company as I visited the DC Line Fest. I bypassed Vegan Treats all together, I couldn’t eat anything. I left.
Well, Vegan Treats couldn’t make it to the Baltimore VegFest this past year, and with 12 months since my last visit, I was insisting that the DC VegFest wasn’t as bad as I remembered.
DC VegFest 2016 fell on my birthday. As a gift, my mom booked a hotel room right across from the festival venue. She and I drove down the night before, spent the morning walking around Yards Park, and getting excited for the VegFest.
I paid the $50 ahead of time to reserve my tote, and I was going to split the goodies with my mom, so we opted to not stand in the free bag line and went straight for Vegan Treats. As expected, that line took ridiculously long. We took turns popping out to look at the VT spread, to bring back samples of Tofurkey’s Chorizo as the line barely moved. The one redeeming factor (aside from getting myself a birthday cake) was that I got passed a Wild Card, an “if you have a cat tattoo, redeem this card for a prize” card. How lucky was that!? A volunteer at the festival came up and said I had to continue passing the card back and that showing my tattoo would be enough. I obliged. Long story short (and I wrote about this on Instagram if you’re really curious), because the volunteer made me give up the card, the prize which I was waiting for the whole time would be refused. Needless to say, I was not happy about that scenario or how it was handled.
With a bad taste in my mouth, my mom and I were ready for actual food now because it was 12:30 (we’d been at the festival, in the Vegan Treats line for over an hour!). But by then, you couldn’t get food without waiting in another line at least 50 people deep! It was insanity. We met up with my friend Eric and walked around, hoping to find at least ONE tent without a ridiculous line. No luck. Not even the vendors with samples. We visited some of the non-food tents that we could squeeze into. I sampled some fantastic juice from Fruitive, some kombucha, I signed a thank you card for undercover investigators, I bought some stickers, and when we realized we weren’t going to get anything more out of the festival, we left to eat somewhere a few blocks away. We used Happy Cow to find Takorean, a veg-friendly joined down the street. We weren’t the only ones with that idea either. A few other folks from the VegFest were there.
Let me tell you, those Korean tacos were fantastic!! I got three tacos, one with cauliflower and two with tofu. I topped my tacos with the spicy kale, the avocado crema, the salsa, and the sriracha, sprickled with sesame seeds. Mmm; I definitely recommend giving them a try.
So, in short. Remind me next year that DC VegFest is not worth it even with good company.