By Megan Smith
The Texas Veggie Fair offers a healthier and more affordable alternative to the iconic State Fair of Texas. Check out Page 4 for more veggie fun.
The vegan lifestyle may not be for everyone, but I think most of us can agree that beautiful weather, friendly people and dogs make for a good day. For the sixth year in a row, the Texas Veggie Fair delivered that, and more, at Reverchon Park in Dallas. This was the second year in a row I attended both the Texas Veggie Fair and the State Fair of Texas, and the differences between the two stood in stark contrast once again.
More than 10,000 people attended this year’s veggie fair, but the park had plenty of room for people to sit on the grass and enjoy delicious vegan food. I tried something new this year – a lentil sloppy joe from the Down to Earth food truck. I loved sloppy joes as a kid, and it was wonderfully nostalgic to have one again. Thankfully, this one came with no meat, and I added avocado. There’s nothing better than getting your hands dirty with delicious, cruelty-free food.
At the state fair, there was a new corny dog in town. Fletcher’s introduced its vegetarian Corny Dog but sold it at only one booth, which proved difficult to find. After making it through the midway crowds to get my Corny Dog, I was disappointed. It was exactly what most people would expect from faux meat – rubbery, tasteless and oddly colored.
Fletcher’s should take notes from Tough Cookie Bakery, which served up vegan corn dogs at the veggie fair. I couldn’t help but have two, and even my omnivorous boyfriend admitted it was better than Fletcher’s. Lois Wagenseil, Brookhaven College librarian, said she has been to the veggie fair every year it has been held and always has a good time.
“It’s a lot of fun with really nice people, great food, assorted booths with great organizations and a variety of live music,” Wagenseil said in an email. “This year, they had even more shuttles from nearby American Airlines Center, so it was no hassle to park and get dropped off right at the fair entrance.” To park anywhere near the entrance to the state fair, I had to pay $20 on top of the $18 admission. I paid only $5 to park at the veggie fair, and admission was free, as always.
One of the backbones of any decent fair is good, live music. The state fair did not disappoint. I was able to see a truly iconic band – The Beach Boys. Though the boys are well past their surfing days, they put on an awesome show fit for all ages.
The music from the midway rides at the state fair wasn’t as pleasant. Bad dubstep made the wait for the Texas Star, the fair’s iconic Ferris wheel, feel even longer than usual. The veggie fair had great local acts as usual. Loyal Sally provided folk rock that was perfectly suited to drinking a hard cider (or kombucha) and enjoying the great weather. On the other side of the park, musicians from Kalachandji’s Hare Krishna Temple in Dallas played instruments and sang the Hare Krishna mantra.
Unlike the State Fair of Texas, there were plenty of dogs at the veggie fair, as well as several rescue groups ready to introduce fairgoers to their new best friend.
I chose not to see the petting zoo at the state fair. Seeing wild animals such as zebras, giraffes and camels in small enclosures when they should be free is not my idea of fun. However, the veggie fair had several animal welfare organizations in attendance.
Tammie Carson, owner of “A Victorian Revolution,” one of the veggie fair vendors, said the people who attend the veggie fair set it apart from the state fair. “We’re more likeminded,” she said.
“We’re more compassionate and more interested in the welfare of the Earth. Everybody is so nice and aware.”
That’s what it comes down to for me when looking at my fair experiences. From the politeness of veggie fairgoers to the welcoming atmosphere and compassionate vendors, the Texas Veggie Fair is the kind of event that gives me hope for humanity. The same just can’t be said for the often impersonal and gluttonous State Fair of Texas.