Lily’s First Vegetarian Festival

I’m happy to say that I’m going to be blogging with even more Flavor. Starting this month, I’ll be contributing blog posts to Flavor Magazine! Here’s the first – my short, happy trip to this weekend’s Vegetarian Festival in Bryan Park.

One of the first rules of blogging is “take lots of pictures.” As a matter of fact, when I talked to the folks at Flavor Magazine about chronicling my trip to the upcoming Vegetarian Festival, Pam told me to do exactly that.

Well of course I would. Who wouldn’t? There’s always so much to see (and hear and smell and taste) at Richmond’s beloved festival. It’s tenth year in Bryan Park would be no exception.

Lily, already a veggie lover, was bound to love the Vegetarian Festival!

The Vegetarian Festival is no joke. People come out in hordes. Normals, freaks, families, babies, puppies, babies with puppies, vegetarians and meatetarians alike, basically anyone looking for a good time. This would be my first year with a baby in tow. I knew I would need to plan ahead, bring water and the stroller. The terrain and sheer size of the festival’s ‘track’ would necessitate pushing rather than wearing the baby, and the stroller would provide much-needed swag storage.

Mr. Ganz, who was working all day, helped me load Lily, stroller, and bag of essentials in the car, and we were off. It was only when I arrived at the park that I realized I had made a rookie blogger mistake – No memory card in the camera! There was no way I could go back, having just spent a solid 20 minutes waiting for patient and charming parking lot attendants to coax me into a cozy space right next to the entrance to the festivities. No, I was staying put. We’d have to improvise – Thank god for Instagram!

Vegetarian Festival Farm to Family Bus

We strolled from shady spot to shady spot, snapping a few pictures, stopping to read menus, darting between hoola-hoopers and belly dancers in constant swivel. Everything seemed to glow in the hot June sunshine. If you think Farm to Family’s Farm Bus looks beautiful in the Fan, you can imagine how it beams under a canopy of trees.

Richmond Vegetarian Festival Vegan Action

Lily and I stopped to visit our friend, Barb Upchurch, of Relayfoods.com and Blueberry Marketing, whom we found giving out stickers and vegan-friendly diet tips at the Vegan Action booth. She recommended the vegan potato and marinara pizzas from Pizza Tonight and warned that, to do the Vegetarian Festival justice, one would need two stomachs.

Vegetarian Festival Pizza Tonight

Lily and I continued our leisurely stroll, stopping to admire RVAVegan‘s awesome pink bus and pick up some potato tacos, which were a perfect treat, lacking nothing for flavor, with just the right amount of cumin.

While enjoying my tacos, I overheard someone say that 100% of RVA Vegan’s profits go toward a non-profit, Have Heart. I’d seen them before at the Food Truck Court but had no idea! If that doesn’t make a taco even more delicious, I don’t know what does. Lime juice, maybe. We made quick work of the tacos and moved on, hoping to find a cold, sweet treat and a breeze.

Vegetarian Festival RVA Vegan

Lehja answered my craving with a subtle, coconut-flavored kuhlfi, which seemed to disappear in a single bite. About that time, I noticed that Lily, who had been babbling sweetly to herself between sips of water, was beginning to wilt. I contemplated another 20 minutes in the car with an irate baby, and decided to wrap things up while everyone was still in a pleasant state of mind.

Our first trip to Richmond’s biggest food festival was a success, not to be ruined by a heat-induced tantrum. The plan for next year: a hand-held fan and a stroller-cooler stocked with tupperware. Who needs two stomachs when you have storage?

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