Victoria Vegan Fest 2012

Yikes. Victoria Vegan Fest was 3 weeks ago and I haven’t even had a chance to write about how it went!

We managed to organize the Victoria Vegan Fest in just 3 months. If any of you have ever organized any big event (festival, wedding, dinner for more then 4 people) you know how time consuming it is. Me, Dave and the rest of our Festival Team worked our ASSES off so that the festival would come off without a hitch and I am so thrilled to say that all our hard work paid off and the entire day went perfectly.

The night before the festival the stress was overwhelming … there are SO many tiny details to take care of when you organize an event of this magnitude. So when I woke up at 6:30am full of adrenaline – I decided to get up and head down to Market Square to get a head start on setting up.

I think the biggest part of the stress for me was “would people come?”

The calm before the storm …

I was there so early that I realized there was nothing I could do yet – so I nervously set up chairs in the “classroom”.

I looked down into the square and saw that the Captains had arrived and we started to setup the tables and chairs.

Once we were set up – I got up on the main-stage and welcomed the crowd to the festival and talked a little bit about the schedule. It was also the first time I had told anyone that I was moving Sarah’s Place to a new location (which happened to be our classroom for the festival). When I mentioned I was moving above Green Cuisine I heard a woman in the crowd gasp and say “Oh that is perfect location. How exciting!”ร‚ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ It totally made my day.

We started the day with a yoga demonstration from Ashtanga Yoga who are a fantastic yoga studio located here in Market Square. My favourite part was watching the crowd participate … yay!!

With Ashtanga on the stage I had a minute to stop and see how the festival was going. Wait. What?? It’s 12:05 and the square is already so busy!! It was a thrilling feeling.

One of my biggest worries was “would the classrooms be popular”. We had set up a schedule for the day with some amazing speakers but I was worried that because the classroom was upstairs and away from the festival action that nobody would go upstairs.

Was I ever wrong.ร‚ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ Every time I popped up to see how the classrooms were doing they were packed full of happy vegan people. I was so happy.

On the mainstage we had The Ukubellas perform a couple of sets. They are an awesome Victoria ukulele group that sing fun standards that everyone knows.

I wish I had more time to watch them but I had to run around and make sure everything was running smoothly.

Every time I would stop to take a look at how things were doing there were more and more people milling about the square. My friend Greg came over and said to me “You did this. You made this happen…” and then he gave me a hug. It was a really sweet moment.ร‚ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking of Greg – he performed on the mainstage.

Greg juggled for the crowd and wowed them with his vegan skills!!ร‚ย  By the way. We have some THIS IS WHAT A VEGAN LOOKS LIKE” shirts left and they are available in my store. I also do mail-order and ship worldwide so go grab one HERE before they’re all gone.

Greg also taught the crowd how to juggle … so fun.ร‚ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

After Greg performed with had a 30 minute gap before the next performance so I decided to bring the kids up on stage for a dance party. I blasted The Monkey Bunch and the kids went nuts.ร‚ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

The festival went off without a hitch. There were no fires to put out. Nobody hurt themselves … although I did almost fall down and entire flight of stairs because I was texting. Whoops.ร‚ย  ๐Ÿ™

I stepped down to what I thought was a stair but was actually just air … I stopped and took a deep breath when it happened and then I said out-loud to myself “This is a warning. The universe wants you to slow down and be present.”

I don’t know how I found my footing but I am thankful I didn’t fall down the stairs. Can you imagine? “Vegan Superstar dies at her own vegan festival! News at 11!”

I also performed at the festival too. I did my Canada’s Next Top Vegan bit but it didn’t go as well as I wanted. I was so exhasuted and frazzled by the end of the day – so next time I plan a festival in 3 months, host the mainstage, and have vendor table – remind me to not perform too.ร‚ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

The clean-up after the festival went fast (thanks to our amazing volunteers) and I was exhausted but elated with how the day went. And incredibly hungry. I HAD FORGOTTEN TO EAT!! So I grabbed Shannon Mann (of Sea Shepherd and Backyard Activist) and her friends and we headed out for a quick celebratory dinner and then I crawled into bed and fell asleep. I don’t even remember falling asleep.

I woke up the next day feeling like I had run a marathon. I wish I had worn aร‚ย pedometer to keep track of how far I walked … The next day I took 3 naps. THREE naps! That’s how tired I was.

I am so so so happy with how the festival turned out. It wasn’t perfect but it was incredibly successful and I am very excited to see what we pull together next year.ร‚ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am so full of gratitude to everyone who helped with the festival. Thank you to Market Square for being so generous with the space, to all our sponsors, vendors, speakers, performers. Also all our volunteers who put all their free time and energy into making the festival a success. And also to you – you who donated to our various fundraisers. Your $$ helped us put together a kick-ass festival and for that I am forever in your debt.

But no rest for the wicked … As I mentioned above – I am moving Sarah’s Place to a new location Aug 1st so as soon as Vegan Fest was over I started working on the new store. If any of you have ever organized any big event (festival, wedding, dinner for more then 4 people) then you know it’s not as simple as just moving my stuff over to the new store. So many details. I haven’t had a good nights sleep in months. ๐Ÿ™

I am EXHAUSTED but also really excited for the evolution of Sarah’s Place. If the festival showed me anything … it’s that Victoria is hungry for all things vegan and I’m hoping Sarah’s Place can fill that craving.ร‚ย  ๐Ÿ™‚


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