My usual complaints with VegFest's were obvious at this one as well, mainly that it's 80% junk food. Ice cream, fried foods, packaged foods, vegan cheeses filled with oil and various chocolates. You have the typical bagged "nutrition" supplements with rare ingredients purported to improve health. In general though I'm supportive of transition foods. Reducing or eliminating animal foods and switching to vegan packaged foods is still a step in the right direction. I just hope people get to a whole foods plant based diet as quickly as possible. There is nothing worse for the vegan movement than unhealthy vegans. There was a nutritionist there with a booth, fruit available for purchase and even some healthier options.
Vegtoria in Victoria had a few speakers, predominantly about agriculture and animal rights. I didn't spend time with them as I tend to avoid the horror stories of animal abuse. I'm already a plant based person, I need no further convincing and the negatively of the experience weighs on me. They also had virtual reality of animal agriculture and ethical vegan clothing and information booths. I did sign a petition to ban horse drawn carriages in the city, but avoided the booths for the most part.
The most challenging part of the festival were the extreme waits for food. We ended up leaving and popping out to one of our favourite vegan restaurants a block away and returning later. Frankly it was cheaper, healthier and there was no lineup. To be fair we had the same experience in LA even though their festival was massive. They just couldn't keep up with demand. I imagine if this festival continues to grow they will have to expand the footprint and improve wait times.
If you've yet to experience a VegFest I'd highly recommend it. If you are a health based vegan like myself it may drive you a little crazy, but it's nice to be a part of a community no matter how you've arrived there. The normalization of this lifestyle is an encouraging sight. Who knows, maybe one day I'll be able to speak at a VegFest! At the very least I hope the organizers look to invite more health focused speakers in the future, I'd be sure to hang around for them.