The first ever VegFest Puerto Rico is in the books! Last Saturday, April 14th, Rincón hosted the soon-to-be annual event and it was even more successful than expected. Here are a few photos of VegFest Puerto Rico 2018 and a quick interview with one of the co-planners and Vegan Wines founder, Frances Gonzalez.
What was the turnout like? Do you know how many people attended VegFest? Was it more or less than you expected?
It was so many more than we expected for the first event! We estimate that we had a total of about 3,000 people revolving in and out of the festival on Saturday. We actually ran out of food by 2 PM and the event was scheduled to go until 6 PM!
What was your favorite part of putting together and experiencing VegFest Puerto Rico? Do you have any especially memorable moments from the event?
Honestly, my favorite part is that this festival had such a positive outcome! Everyone learned so much from the panel speakers. The lines for all the delicious vegan foods were long. People were happy. It was a great day out! The township of Rincón was delighted and they want to do it again! They’re ready to have us back in another 4 to 6 months, but I think it’s more of an annual thing! I’m just so happy they liked VegFest and want it back soon 🙂
Oh, there were SO many that I can’t list them all!
We had vendors selling vegan body and skin care products, cruelty-free makeup, essential oils, handmade bags, beach blankets, and cover-ups, amazing jewelry, pens, clothing, and lots of beautiful artwork. There was a local DJ, a free yoga class, meditation sessions, and super knowledgeable speakers that drew a huge crowd.
As for food, there were delicious baked goods from vegan bakeries, veggie burgers, tacos, falafel, coconut vegan yogurt, cocoa wine, artisan ice pops, gourmet tea, fresh pressed juices, and kombucha. There were also things you could buy and take home, like seasoning mixes, oils, and sauces.
How did you spend most of your day there? Roaming around? Getting vendors set up? Talking to vendors?
All three…LOL. My feet hurt so much after but it was all worth it! I was so busy that I didn’t even set up a stand for Vegan Wines!
Did you learn anything new from either the vendors or the speakers?
Yes, I learned something new from ALL speakers! Here’s the schedule of the speakers and what they represent:
What did you take away from this year’s VegFest? Is there anything you’d change for next year?
Yes, we’re going to need more food and agriculture vendors! VegFest Puerto Rico will be an annual vegan event in a different city or big town each year. We want to spread awareness throughout the island!
Tell us about the crowd at VegFest. What sorts of people came out? Families, kids, groups, pets, etc.?
All of the above! Even pets for adoption! And some pets just strolling with their parents. We also had kids’ activities with PETA-friendly films and watercoloring for them. They had so much fun while learning that animals are our friends 🙂
Did any sort of charities or groups benefit from VegFest?
Yes! Misfits Pet Orphanage (which I am actually the vice president of) is based out of Coamo, Puerto Rico. Coamo is a small town that suffers from many stray dogs, and I wanted to help this shelter get recognized for the great non-profit they are. I think VegFest gained Misfits Pet Orphanage some great exposure within the community!
Is there anything else you’d like to say about VegFest and this past weekend?
We are grateful for such a positive outcome. I am grateful that the town of Rincón is grateful. I am grateful that people learned so much from the public speakers. I am grateful that two puppies were adopted!
Most of all, I am grateful that I was able to help my island and my people!