BETHLEHEM VEGFEST 2012: Date Announced + Win $100 by Dressing Like an Artichoke (or whatever)

Consider this your “Save the Kales – Save the Date” for Bethlehem Vegfest 2012!

September 8th from 11am-6pm, we’re bringing back what was resoundingly called one of the best festivals Bethlehem ever had. With record numbers (over 10,000 people, ya’ll), this one will be bigger and better as we have the figure-stuff-out year one under our belts to move forward with expanding on the great things and adding more elements!

Making friends with neighbors and folks of 'From A to Vegan' blog

This is one thing that will not change: The Vegfest committee invites anyone who would like to be involved to come to planning meetings or to share ideas to do exactly that! You can be a part of making this festival the best — so come to meetings, offer ideas, or offer your time. You’re invited. It’s an unbelievable amount of fun, and you get to meet so many friends and neighbors.  Party time, all the time.

In the meantime….

Impressive Vegetable Float I found on Google, not ours, but it illustrates the idea. Somewhat.

Bethlehem’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is happening on Saturday, March 17th and Vegfest is having a float! Here’s where it gets interesting – I was voted (unbeknownst to me) to be the Garden Fairy Princess, and the float still needs vegetables to follow me into the magical garden.

This feels silly to type!

If that isn’t enticing enough on it’s own (heh), the BEST vegetable in the parade will win $100 cash and become the official 2012 Vegfest Mascot. 

GO HERE TO LEARN MORE about becoming a walking vegetable in the parade!

Check out the Bethlehem Vegfest FACEBOOK PAGE to stay updated. 


FIVE QUESTIONS: An Audio Interview!

How fun! My pal Dustin Schoof from local paper The Express Times invited me to the office to be part of a weekly online segment called “Five Questions”, in which they talk to local people makin’ cool things happen.

 (Confession: When I met Ryan over two years ago, I did the ‘ol Google search to snoop around on him online and actually found a Five Questions segment with him! Then he got his new job and he did another one about that a few months ago. We’re 2:1, and he’s winning. Harhar.)

It was a tad awkward when Dustin asked me “What can we look forward to in the future?” because there are some good thing brewin’ but I can’t talk about them yet – eep! Maybe we’ll have to do another one of these once I can unzip my lip.


GO HERE to listen to the Interview (click the link at the end of the article)

And thank you once again Dustin! You can check out Dustin’s band Blue Jean, too. They will be playing before a Pixies show in November. Yeah, THOSE Pixies. Heart attack central, right? Isn’t supporting each other FUN!?




Day of Reflection on the Little ‘Fest That Could

 The past 48 hours have been a time of seeking out folks for feedback, constructive criticism, and overall impressions of Bethlehem Vegfest. The responses have been overwhelmingly positive, though I’m excited to continue to improve more aspects next year.

I am working on a post about my overall reaction to the ‘Fest. It’s long, it’s wordy, it’s emotional and it will  likely take me another day or two.

Until then, here’s two more blog posts to keep you satisfied:

Bethlehem Vegfest was featured on Our Hen House today – something really incredible because their work reaches a large audience, and I love that Bethlehem is continually showing up as a vegan presence to people in other areas. Jasmin and Mariann are activists that work endlessly on giving the people tools they need to empower themselves to spread the message of veganism and animal rights. (I was particularly interested in their thoughts on our Vegfest, as they have been to so many others across the country, and am excited to share some of our discussion with you in an upcoming post.)

Not only that, but their podcasts – which are FREE to download and a joy to listen to – will have a special Bethlehem Vegfest segment next week, including none other than superwoman Danielle Konya of Vegan Treats. I cannot wait to hear this episode.  Go check out their work, download a billion podcasts, and then take action.

(*** Also check out a segment of their website/work that ties in Gay and Queer activism, called The Gay Animal. These ladies don’t stop, and we are better off for it!)

From Here Now lehigh valley blog

A local lady new to the blogging scene (and a dear friend, at that) is Colleen Marsh with here blog From Here Now. Colleen writes a positive, inviting blog about all the little treasures found in the Lehigh Valley, places to go, businesses she supports, recipes she makes her own kitchen.

Colleen went to Vegfest and wrote a great blog about her impressions of it (positive!), followed by a billion recipes for everything she made for a vegan dinner that night.

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I am very happy to say that I just had a meeting this morning with some folks about a project that will be an all-vegan project, something the other folks involved had thought about for a while, but seeing the incredible attendance of the fest made them realized that now is the time to act! It’s still top secret, but once it gets rolling we will want all of your support to spread the word.

My heart feels all big and fuzzy. Thank you for being a part of something that quite literally has the power to change our community for the better.

VEGFEST Starts in 12 Hours…

This must be what a bride feels like before the wedding day. All the planning, talking, excitement…. one big day and in a few hours it’s over. I picture myself looking over the Greenway tomorrow at 5pm as people filter out, tables get folded up and feeling a little pang of sadness — though luckily, unlike most weddings, we will get to do it again next year.

My hope is the day will leave a positive impression in people’s minds. A day they went out with their families, friends and dogs, learned about all of the talent that we have right here in our own city. That there are like-minded people who want to work toward sustainability, organic and whole foods, and fostering community and supporting local businesses.

For those of you coming to Vegfest (and how I hope you are!), here is some last-minute info:

  • The Save the Kales! table will be part of the Livelocal table. I will likely not be at the table most of the day, so feel free to come find me and say hello! I’m serious, I want to meet you and see you.
  • I will have t-shirts for sale! They are gorgeous, soft, nice-fitting, made in the USA and printed by a local vegan-owned screen printer, Bird Apartment. 
  • PARKING IS FREE! Meters and city lots are FREE!!! Don’t be alarmed if you find something stuck to your windshield when you get back to the car – it may be a paper saying “On a normal day, this would be a parking ticket but Vegfest is Awesome so you parked for free today!”
  • Maps of the fest layout will be available to pick up!  There are 19 different zones (holy moly!) to help you navigate through the tables and tents.
  • Speakers, Cooking Demos and live Music all day! In between on the eating and shopping, you can watch and listen to some awesome stuff. GO HERE FOR A SCHEDULE.
I hope I can sleep tonight!
See you soon. Biggest hugs to all of you. xoxo

Bethlehem Vegfest Makes Life Better (Really).

A few nights ago, I was working at my part time job in a bookstore and talked to a customer purchasing the DVDs of Food, Inc. and Forkes Over Knives. I told her I had just been on a discussion panel for the latter, to which she happily chirped, “So have you heard about Bethlehem Vegfest? It’ll be next Saturday!”

You can’t imagine what a great feeling it is when complete strangers excitedly tell you about an event that you have been helping to organize for several months.

I see the posters everywhere. Businesses, public bulletin boards, the newspapers… I’ve even seen some hanging in the windows of people’s homes. Every time someone talks about it, posts it online, wants to do an interview for an article, it spreads the excitement for something that — stay with me now — has the power to change the world, change lives.

Let me explain.

It’s not simply about the lives of animals that are spared by choosing a plant-based diet or simply choosing more veg dishes, not just about making a positive environmental impact (by making much less of an impact), not just about the way treating your body well makes your mind feel better, too…

What is, for me, maybe the most exciting thing is the way it has been embraced by the community. There has been nothing but support and enthusiasm for this event from local people and businesses who have only asked “How can I get involved?” from day one.  The desire to make more of ourselves can resonate in our lives and in us, and we can continue to create positive change in ways that ripple farther than we can see.

I’ve told you my story. About two years ago I was considering a move to somewhere else in the country, anywhere else, to escape from myself and from a town I had been deceived and told had nothing here for people like me. If we wanted to find a creative community, or things to do, or art or music or food or interesting people or a career to be passionate about, we had to leave.

Sabrina Ward Harrison

My choice to stay was deliberate. My choice to change the way I thought about this place and my life has only lead me to experiences I could never have thought up back when I was planning an escape. So much is about perception – we see what we choose to see. And one of the biggest lessons learned has been: we can make our own lives. And it seemed a lot of us started to open our eyes wider at the same time.

When the Downtown Bethlehem Association asked if I’d like to be a co-organizer for Bethlehem Vegfest, I was humbled and honored. Part of the mission of my work and this blog is “Cooking, Community and Compassion” – and “Community” is so much more than a physical space of people who live together. It is about action: working together to better and improve that space because it is where we live our lives, together. 

To me, Vegfest is a manifestation of the desire for something new in a town that embraces it’s history. We are forward thinking people, and we are in good company.

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Bethlehem Vegfest on Facebook

Article about Restaurant Week (NOW until Sept 10th) from Lehigh Valley Live

Article for Laini’s Little Pocket Guide website

… and check out the current issue of The Mix free weekly paper! (out NOW through Sept. 14th)

VEGAN MACHINE Blog Saves the Kal… I mean, DAY!

Back when I very first mentioned the rumblings of Bethlehem Vegfest on facebook, the amazing Kaycee Bassett of the blog Vegan Machine wrote to me to offer something so generous – could she make and donate some pocket guides so we may hand them out at the fest?

Could she? COULD SHE!?

A huge and resounding HECK YES. And so she did. Kaycee made up these guides of animal ingredients – things commonly found in food and other products that are animal derived that have crazy names and you may not know it just by reading the packaging.

Vegan Machine

She sent  literally hundreds, all of them hand-bound and made with love shooting out of that big heart of hers.

Cutie pie Kaycee Bassett of Vegan Machine

Cutie pie Kaycee Bassett of Vegan Machine

Please show Kaycee some love and support – you can help spread the word about what she does by liking her FACEBOOK PAGE, and checking out her blog full of drool-inducing recipes and lots, lots more.

She also organizes a Vegan Pen Pal match-up service. If you are interested in having a vegan pen-pal from a far off land, contact her and she will set it up. Who wouldn’t want some authentic Polish recipes or German vegan chocolates, not to mention a bond formed with someone new? GO HERE TO LEARN MORE.

Kaycee is one of those people that embodies a lifestyle based on compassion, and lives that every day in her actions and education. I am grateful to have her support!

Go visit Vegan Machine to keep up with this wonder woman!

SWEATER WEATHER: Pretending It’s Fall Makes Me Happier than Most Things

 (If you like this Fall post, see also: The Noise of Failure Growing Beautiful; and Books, Leaves and Campfires)

.     .     .

I could never live anywhere that didn’t have Fall as one of the seasons. I’ll gladly take blizzards in the winter, and sticky hot humidity in the summer, if it means I get to experience the in-between.

Love love love love love this.

The past few days when I’ve gone outside, it’s been… chilly. Not cold, but enough to wear layers and long sleeves and still feel perfectly comfortable. Taking long walks is more appealing than usual, and I feel so lucky to live in a town that is beautiful and full of such history.

This morning I am positively giddy about what this change of the seasons will bring:

  • butternut squash, pumpkin, apple and cinnamon everything
  • creepy 1970’s books
  • the way orange and yellow and brown leaves smell
  • pumpkin patches with little shops that sell apple cider
  • apple cider in general
  • neutral milk hotel records
  • the 4million festivals in the Lehigh Valley
  • a good excuse to have a backyard firepit any night
  • reading on the couch while Ryan watches a football game (a display of domesticity that I love and count on)

“Happiness is being content with little.”

  NOTE: Literally as I’m on the sidewalk typing this, a car pulls up by the curb and yells out “Save the Kales!”, and here is is my former internet-only friend Amy! She’s been a reader for a long time, and I’m not sure if we first bonded over this blog or her excellent choice of eyewear, but nonetheless, we finally got to meet and MAN IT’S REALLY JUST THE BEST DAY! (Hi again, Amy!)


Here are some upcoming events and things I hope you’ll be excited about  – and with any luck I’ll get to see you there, too!

– Wednesday, Aug. 31st 6pm-8pm  Stacks in the City: Ladies Night – All About Vegan! I’ll be there doing a cooking demo, along with the amazing Wendy of Balasia/Honey Underground, and possibly a few more folks in the local Vegan community. Not just for ladies! FREE event at SteelSatcks. Find out more here:

Saturday, Sept. 3rd 7pm – ???   Screening of Forks Over Knives with Discussion to Follow  Holy moly, I have been waiting for this to come to the Valley for a long time! What Food Inc. did for food politics, Forkes Over Knives does for food and health/sickness. I’ll be on the discussion panel along with some other folks! Come see it! Talk! Ahh!

Find out more about the weekend-long Eco-Film Fest here:

Wednesday, Sept 7  Get your Free copy of The Mix weekly paper! Bethlehem Vegfest is the feature this week. These are, like, everywhere in the Valley and will be out until the following Wednesday.

Saturday, Sept 10th Noon-5pm  Bethlehem Vegfest  WOW, IT’S HERE! I’ll see you on the Greenway!


… In the mean time, I’ll be working on perfecting some new Fall recipes. See you soon!