This weekend saw people flocking from far and wide to Hove Centre for all things vegan and veggie. VegFestUK celebrated everything vegan, from food to clothes, gifts and toiletries.
I’m not vegan, but attended because I wanted to sample the food to see whether the negative stereotypes were true that I’ve heard over the years (you know the age-old, ridiculous jokes about vegans only eating leaves and cardboard). I was also interested in the free veggie speed dating session, but the outcome of that can be saved for another post!
I took my 2 year old son along with my friend and her 20 month old on the Saturday, when the weather was absolutely stunning.
As we arrived we saw JuiceFM outside interviewing people before they went in, and a long queue! One of the attendees told me they were pleased to see it so busy, because last year it was apparently a lot quieter.
When we got into the venue, we were stunned by how busy it was, and how HOT it was! The festival was on three floors, with the main food, clothes and toiletry stalls not far from the entrance. The smell of Thai food was tempting, so we ventured towards the stalls, but unfortunately this took us a lot of time and perseverance, as it was packed, and not the most buggy-friendly of places I’ve been to. We had the double buggy, but I think I would have still struggled with a single one, and there’s no way I would have let my son walk around, as he would have been crushed alive!
After what felt like a sweaty eternity, we managed to get to the toiletries, but it was hard to get to talk to any of the stall holders, as people were crowding around each stall and…not moving! I don’t know about you, but when I’m hot, hungry and coping with a toddler that’s feeling the same, I’m not the most patient of women! So all I managed to do was grab some leaflets, and smelt the food as I was pushed past each stall.
I did have a coconut and date square thrust into my face at one point, but that was the height of my vegan food sampling!
Due to feeling too claustrophobic we headed to the elevators to go downstairs. On the basement floor it was a lot quieter, because they had a cinema there, showing short films and documentaries about veganism, as well as some balloons and toys for sale.
After taking a five minute breather, we then headed back upstairs and attempted to carry on seeing what was on offer, as I had read that there were 135 stalls, a large children’s area for arts and crafts, live comedy and live music performances. Sadly we didn’t get to see any of these, because it was just far too busy and the boys were getting incredibly fed up of being knocked into and not being able to see anything.
From the little I could see, there looked like a fab range of products and services that were on show, so I would definitely want to attend again next year, but to make the experience a lot more enjoyable for people with children, I would say it definitely needs to be in a much bigger venue, and with air conditioning!
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