Written and Photos by Marissa Vonn
Edited by Sason Bishope Parry
Vegandale is an experience that encompasses visual art, music, food, and spirits. This multifaceted fest encourages attendees (called Citizens) to realize the moral imperative of veganism and picture a world without exploiting animals.
On Sunday, October 28th, over 10,000 vegans, vegetarians, and veg-curious folks attended the 8th annual festival in the LA State Historic Park. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for enjoying the fest.
Jenna Owen, VP of Communications and entertainment for Vegandale, stated: “The LA event was our biggest (in the city) yet, boasting a turnout of around 10,000 attendees. Our mission is clear: challenge prevailing stereotypes surrounding veganism and design an event that resonates with those who aren’t yet vegan. With each passing event, we witness an increasing number of non-vegans joining us, bringing us one step closer to our vision of a World Vegan Domination.”
World Vegan Domination seems possible with this big of a turnout and the number of vegan goodies and product vendors showcased. Over 100 vendors, ranging from food to clothing, events, and non-profit animal rights organizations, shared their goods with the crowds and educated people on the vegan lifestyle and its importance. Vegandale’s presenting sponsor, Bellissima, had a gorgeous custom booth (complete with samples!) and an art installation perfect for many selfies.
Aspects of the art installation included poppy art reminiscent of Las Vegas, a concierge desk reminiscent of The Grand Budapest Hotel, and a fun Vegandale Transit Commission map. It was a fun play on the classic transit map showcasing some common routes to veganism. That old saying comes to mind, “What happens at Vegandale stays at Vegandale!”
“You see? There are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity.” A fitting quote from M. Gustave from The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Crowds were treated to fantastic music by Lohrasp Kansara and the liveliest host around, Scott “Burnhard” Bernard. Scott was a ball of energy and good vibes as he engaged with patrons. Scott and Lohrasp were joined by John Lewis, and the trio created the most immaculate vibe while dancing through the day and into the evening. The young and old crowd danced along all day, and the rumour has it they’re still dancing, and the good vibes are still flowing!
With the vibe set, Mary Ruth’s Elizabeth Heiser was excitedly sharing samples from the company’s range of vegan supplements. Women’s Multivitamins, Men’s Multivitamins, and Calcium gummies were a big hit.
Heiser said, “Mary Ruth’s is a vegan supplement company looking to extend the horizons of the vitamin aisle.”Elizabeth Heiser reps Mary Ruth’s vegan supplements and is highly passionate about the company and its future.
Charlie Lee and Luis Soto of Seven AM Coffee helped keep patrons energized with their fantastic range of coffee products. They offered samples of hot sauce and syrup. Seven AM also had their signature coffee milk and coffee milk lattes for purchase. The coffee milk latte is a shot of espresso over ice, topped with coffee milk (a blend of plant-based milk and the company’s coffee syrup). This was absolutely perfect for the warm temperatures! Seven AM’s mission is to change the world’s blind spot for coffee and highlight its many uses outside of drinks. Charlie Lee and Luis Soto kept crowds caffeinated and energized throughout the festival.
“The world sleeps on coffee!” – Charle Lee – Seven Am Coffee
Mexico City-based SENTIENT had a booth full of beautiful pieces made from cactus leather and some new pieces made with apple leather. Apple leather is an innovative use of apples that may go to waste otherwise. The pieces are stylish, functional, and durable! Karina was inspiring as she posed with some of the brand’s bio-based leather pieces and told us how vegan leather is changing the fashion industry’s future.
Ritter Sport’s booth was a dance-filled, non-stop party. Representative Daniel doled out delicious samples of the brand’s new vegan chocolate. They shared the classic Ritter Sport squares in salted caramel, crunchy almonds, and roasted peanuts. The chocolate was absolutely delicious and better than any dairy-fused chocolate we ever had. Ritter Sport was also encouraging folks to follow them on social media to be entered to win free chocolate for life! Free vegan chocolate for life, imagine that! Daniel was like an energizer bunny and dancing machine, sharing his best moves and giving out many of their amazing vegan chocolates in various flavours.
The beautiful Asha Wheeldon of Kula Foods offered delicious cruelty-free meals inspired by rich Kenyan flavours and African culture. The brand’s mission is to create nourishment for an inclusive plant-forward future. Kula Foods is based in Vancouver but has been touring with Vegandale all summer, sharing their tasty bites and growing their fans. They plan to launch in California in a few short months, and we can’t wait! Asha Wheeldon was a delight to speak to and passionate about how delicious, nutritious, and protein-enriched her offerings are—definitely one of my favourites.
A long, hot day at Vegandale calls for a super deodorant that keeps you looking and smelling your best. Thankfully, Angela Burton was there with her company, Spunkykind, to keep people smelling their best, haha. Their tenacious deodorant comes in two formulas, Sunburst Fresh and Sunburst Fresh No BS (for sensitive skin). Being someone with sensitive skin, Sunburst Fresh seemed like the perfect fit for me. The good news is the deodorant contains only seven ingredients, and Burton is excited to share that it works all day and guarantees you won’t stink! Spunkykind also offers lip balm and body powder and is looking to expand more in the future.
Angela Burton of Sunkykind’s favourite part of Vegandale? “The good vibes and the amazing community!”
Another vegan leather alternative was also on-site, this time in an even more unexpected source: cork! Los Angeles-based Dzolik Vegan Leather offers all styles of accessories made from long-lasting cork and recycled water bottles. Their most popular design is the magic purse, a purse that acts as a glasses case, a wallet, a clutch, and a cross-body bag. Designer Ludo was a delight and on-site to answer questions about the design and manufacturing process and provide style tips. Ludo Halaj and his excellent, innovative fashion products seem off to a great start.
LA’s own Dharma’s Pierogis, which are 100% vegan, are always a massive hit with the vegan crowd, and Vegandale fans ate them up. They were another favourite, and Pierogis are a perfect comfort food anytime. Blues Williams happily dished them out to hungry Vegandale patrons. Fans we spoke to said they were the best pierogi they’ve ever had, and the fact that they were all plant-based was terrific.
Blues Williams recommendation for Vegandale Citizens and anyone that loves good vegan food? “Try Lucky Catsu!”
Nova Easy Kombucha was on-site at Vegandale Los Angeles and determined to prove that fun fermented beverages don’t have to be complicated. With simple ingredients, gluten-free, and naturally fermented, this alcoholic kombucha is a huge hit! And wow, did they taste good with an excellent kicker? Alcoholic beverages that are good for you seem too good to be true, but makers of Hard Kombucha drinks are changing the game. Nova’s flavours range from delicious mint watermelon to cactus jalapeno that lights you up to peachy lychee, which was probably my favourite. There’s something for every palate at Nova. Rafael toasts with a Nova Easy Kombucha, “Our drinks are fun by nature!”
San Diego’s Slices of Citrus lets you wear your favourite fruit or mushroom on your sleeve -literally! The team hand makes their jewellery from dried fruit and mushrooms. They also sell closet staples like bike shorts, hoodies, and comfy dresses that feature fun prints that perfectly match the brand’s jewellery. If you’re looking for a unique gift or a statement piece to add to your collection, Leah and Air are the folks to talk to. They have been touring with Vegandale all year and hope to return again next year!
The amazing vibe and spirit of the festival is the best part of Vegandale! – Leah and Air from Slices of Citrus
Unlimeat is an incredible vegan, Korean-style meal addition for any palate. They take perfectly edible but unloved produce that would otherwise go to waste due to size, blemishes, or cosmetic imperfections and use them to create delicious plant-based foods. How amazing is that! Unlimeat recently became available in supermarkets in Los Angeles and online at PlantX, and it hopes to expand nationally.
Unlimeat reps were on-site smiling and sharing good vibes as though they’d just had some of their delicious Korean BBQ – no pun intended.
ABOUT VEGANDALE & ITS FOUNDER:
Vegandale is an all-vegan experience that encompasses visual art, music, food, and spirits. Founded as a passion project by Hellenic Vincent De Paul in 2015, Vegandale was born with the objective of shattering vegan stereotypes while demonstrating that a world can exist without animal exploitation. Now in its eighth season, Vegandale tours major North American Cities annually with a promise of global expansion on the horizon. Born in Sri Lanka, Hellenic and his family fled the war when he was three years of age, subsequently landing in Canada as refugees. He credits his entrepreneurial spirit to his parents, who opened and ran a successful furniture store shortly after arriving.
Early in his career, Helenic gained tremendous professional event experience through the production of over 200 events (featuring notable artists like DJ Khaled, LeBron James, and French Montana). Around 2013, Hellenic rescued two abandoned kittens and had an epiphany. The cognitive dissonance faded, and he could no longer see the difference between why we love and care for one species yet abuse and exploit another. He went vegan that day nearly ten years ago, and launching Vegandale was the next natural step in his career and mission.
Today, Vegandale is in its eighth season, touring major cities across North America (Chicago, Toronto, NYC, LA, Miami, Dallas) with international expansion on the horizon. The team comprises of 15 like-minded vegans who joined Hellenic’s passion project to support the mission of getting justice for animals.
“I’m an abolitionist vegan in that I believe we have a moral imperative to end animal exploitation entirely, full-stop. Most people find it unacceptable to advocate for a day or month to denounce racism, bullying, or other injustices. Every day should be vegan.”
Hellenic currently resides in Toronto and, along with his vegan wife and children, cares for 14 indoor and outdoor animals, including raccoons, opossums, and squirrels. He is a man on a mission to continue to bring veganism to the world, and Vegandale, this dream is slowly catching reality.
Overall, the Los Angeles edition was a fantastic experience, and with Vegandale, now a national tour with stops in Toronto, Chicago, Dallas, New York, and of course, Los Angeles and, Miami, more people will be able to be part of the experience and of course embrace veganism. The 10,000+ Citizens of Vegandale Los Angeles prove that veganism is rapidly expanding and there is a future without animal exploitation.
Vegandale’s next stop – Miami takes place December 2nd at Historic Virginia Keys Park featuring DJ Khalid, loads of attractions and of course 100’s of vegan vendors of all kinds…
For more information on Vegandale visit: