Guest blog by Leila Sleiman / Edited by Lauren Wells

On Saturday, August 22, the first-ever Pittsburgh VegFest promises to fill Allegheny Commons East with the city’s largest gathering of vegan food, local craft and product vendors, and animal welfare nonprofit groups.

Creators Leila Sleiman and Natalie Fristick — also the founders of animal rights nonprofit Justice For Animals — wanted to come up with a way to reach the masses with information about healthy and delicious food. After traveling the country as animal rights professionals and noting the popularity of other cities’ vegan festivals, the duo decided that the progressive city of Pittsburgh could surely host its own “VegFest.”

Pittsburgh VegFest 2015At the free event, vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike can chow down on premier vegan cuisine — falafel, sandwiches, wraps, nachos, “chili” dogs, and desserts, among other dishes — from several local vendors, including:

  • Double Wide Grill
  • Randita’s Organic Vegan Cafe
  • El Burro Comedor
  • Loving Hut
  • Taj Mahal
  • Sree’s Foods
  • Gluten Free Goat Bakery
  • Fortuitea Cafe
  • Istanbul Grille
  • B52
  • Onion Maiden
  • The White Rabbit Cafe & Pastisserie
  • Red Lotus Foods
  • Commonplace Coffee Co.
  • Fresh From the Farm Juices
  • Chip and Kale

Thinking of volunteering at an animal shelter or adopting a pet? Regional animal rescue and welfare organizations — such as Biggies Bullies Rescue, Steel City Greyhounds, Western PA Humane Society, Hello Bully, Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center, Frankie’s Friends, Orangutan Outreach, Hope Haven Farm Sanctuary, and others — will be on-hand to answer your questions and provide information.

Those seeking organic and vegan skin care products or handcrafted jewelry and gifts will enjoy browsing the unique selections at 1944 Vegan Skin Care, Goods & Evil, Woodcrafty, Pittsburgh Massageworks, Yummy Plants, The Dog Stop, and PUZZLEPAX.

Sleiman recommends bringing the entire family — kids will love the bouncy castle, face painting, and coloring and activity books! — to the festival to enjoy great food and support wonderful causes.

Pittsburgh VegFest is FREE and open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. this Saturday. For more information, visit Pittsburgh VegFest on Facebook.

→ Pittsburgh VegFest,
→ Allegheny Commons East, 255 E. Ohio St., North Side.
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