Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mad City Vegan Fest 2016

After attending my first ever Mad City Vegan Fest last summer, I was really excited to return again this year. I was happy to bring my mom along with me too!

Last year was so crowded. This year was no different, but their new location at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison helped spread everyone out a bit. Once again, the entrance fee and parking were completely free!

We received programs when we arrived and they outlined the different food vendors and menus, exhibitors, speakers and more. 
Mom and I started the day out by heading to the exhibitor hall. There were so many great booths to check out featuring clothing, food and drinks, animal sanctuaries, skin care, chiropractors, etc.
We started to get hungry and braved the massive crowds in the food court area. After checking out the menus and lines, we settled on Ladonia Cafe for lunch. 

If I had one negative thing to say about the organization of the event, it was that it was very difficult to see which lines were for which vendor and there weren't a lot of seats for eating. 
I ordered the frito pie and mom got the eggless salad. Both were really tasty! We shared a ginger limeade too.
Next, we checked out part of the "Ask a Vegan" panel, which was really interesting and inspirational. It featured vegans from all walks of life and of all ages. I could relate to each of them and that was such a comforting feeling. It's SO wonderful to be around like-minded people!
After the "ask a vegan panel" was Matt Ball who co-founded Vegan Outreach and is currently Director of Engagement and Outreach for the Farm Sanctuary. His talk was "Can Our Choices Make a Difference?" I definitely felt like he covered a lot of ground in a short period of time and had some interested statistics to share. I liked that my meat-eater mom heard those and I had some information to bring back to my husband as well. 
Every vegan and vegetarian's least favorite question!
Next up was Michael Greger, M.D. who wrote the wonderful book How Not to Die.  My mom finished the book and I'm about a quarter of the way through it. He also runs an amazing site that you must check out called NutritionFacts.org. I took this shot just to show how many people showed up for his talk. He was hugely popular and a bit of a comedian as evidenced in the photo below where he's hiding behind the screen! 

Mom and I both loved his charisma, message, and passion for the topic. I could have listened to him talk all day, so I am thankful that I can watch his videos on NutritionFacts.org to learn more on my favorite topic of nutrition. 
Basically, his message was to eat a plant-based diet to prevent heart disease, diabetes, etc.

All three talks we attended were hugely influential on me. Last year's festival inspired me to want to go vegan someday soon and I felt the same way again this year. I don't know what's stopping me, but once the greek yogurt and half and half are finished, I think I might try a vegan diet. 

As someone who has organized events like this for work over the last ten years, I know how much time and how many details go into planning it. I appreciate having such a wonderful fest close by. I really love that the organizers are able to keep the event and parking free. We had a great day in Madison and I'll definitely return for next year's Mad City Vegan Fest. 

Interested in learning more or following the fest on social media?

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