Grand Rapids VegFest 2015

Well, last week Grand Rapids had its first ever Vegan Festival, VegFest. It was a tiny thing compared to the ones held in bigger cities that have been held for years now, but we still had fun! Two vendors cornered the food market at the festival – Shimmy Shack and Love’s were the only ones selling food. And Love’s is just ice cream and cookies, so if you wanted a meal, you were going to Shimmy Shack. Pretty much everyone wanted to get in on it, and we waited in line for an hour.

Grand Rapids VegFest Shimmy Shack
I wasn’t able to get a good picture of the truck or the line that formed in front of it, it was just too crowded! But don’t worry, I took pictures of all the food Mumra and I ordered. We tried to hit as many menu items as we could possibly fit in our stomachs.

Grand Rapids VegFest Shimmy Shack
First, Mumra ordered the Classic Burger and Chili Cheese Fries (half white & half sweet potato) with a side of garlic sauce. The housemade burger was bigger than a slider, but much smaller than a Boca burger; however, the little guy packed a lot of flavor. I kind of wished I would’ve ordered one for myself. And fries soaked in chili, yeah, they were good. Could’ve used a little more salt & hot sauce, but then again, that’s probably what the dipping sauce is for. The garlic sauce reminded me of toom, thick and creamy. The Daiya shreds melted on top were good, but in this form I think they work better on pizza. For fries, I’d melt the shreds into a sauce with veg milk and spoon it on so you can still pull the fries apart easily. And yet…we ate them all.

Grand Rapids VegFest Shimmy Shack
I ordered nachos, the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter shake, and a Shimmy Coney – a chili dog. Everything was as expected. My only issue is the LightLife dog was a little over cooked and a little tough. And again I probably would’ve added a little salt and hot sauce to the chili. It was still very satisfying, though.

Grand Rapids VegFest Shimmy Shack
Oh. And Mumra also ordered a cup of Curried Chickpea Gazpacho. I was surprised to find it actually tasted like the dressing on the tomato salad from Little Africa! I think it was the lemon and garlic, it was wonderful.

Grand Rapids VegFest Little Africa
Speaking of Little Africa, we ran into the infamous Lou(l) while stopping by the Culinary Expedition booth of chef Elizabeth Suvedi. Elizabeth offers vegan cooking classes and private cooking events. Sounds like fun!

Grand Rapids VegFest The Brinery
The Brinery was there giving out samples and selling their wonderful fermented foods, along with a bunch of other vendors. I didn’t have the patience to wait for good pictures at all the booths!

Grand Rapids VegFest
There were a few different lectures throughout the day. We sat through part of a cooking class where we watched tofu bacon being prepared.

So once I walked off my coney dog, nachos, and milk shake, what was next?

Grand Rapids VegFest Love's Ice Cream
ICE CREAM. It’s totally different than a milkshake.

Grand Rapids VegFest Love's Ice Cream
It was root beer flavored! I was a very happy girl this day.

Grand Rapids VegFest Harvest Health
A ton of vegan food options were on display at the Harvest Health booth, and even better…

Grand Rapids VegFest Harvest Health Chao Cheese
they were giving samples of Chao Cheese! I already had all three flavors at home in the fridge, but Mumra tried it and enjoyed it. Although knowing her, she’ll just figure out how to make it at home 🙂

Vegan Pizza
And after eating all the good food, I came home and found my dad had ordered a pizza for me!

Anyway. Now that we know 1500+ people in the Grand Rapids area were interested in a smallish VegFest, I have a feeling next year will see way more food vendors, and vendors in general. It will grow and it will be awesome. But I can’t wait til next year to go to a big, awesome vegan festival, so I’m going to one later this week – the Portland Vegan Beer & Food Festival! Flying out to spend time in OR with my BFF. Also hoping to hit up Next Level Burger for the grand opening of their Portland location, and stop in at Food Fight! Grocery, and maybe grab a slice of cheesecake at Sweetpea. And if I really feel like being edgy, maybe I’ll get a new vegan tattoo at Scapegoat :p

5 thoughts on “Grand Rapids VegFest 2015

  1. I love this post! These pictures capture VegFest so well.
    I got a mylkshake at the Shimmy Shack, but now I wish that I’d gotten real food, too! Their classic burger looks yummy. However, I was already full of samples. 😉
    I tried Chao cheese for the first time at the Harvest Health booth and man oh MAN was it good! I really liked the tomato one. The other samples I liked were the bribery’s tempeh, the pizza dough samples, Redhead hummus, and the Bit Baking Co. cookie samples!!! What was / were your favorite sample(s)?
    Also, I just looked back on the most recent issue of VegNews and Shimmy Shack was featured in it as one of the vegan “diners!” How cool is that!?
    I’m excited for VegFest next year! Have fun in Portland! Go to Voodoo donuts!!!
    xx Ellie

    • I ate so much food, I’m not sure I even tried any samples! I do have some Brinery tempeh in my freezer, and cookies from Bit Baking Co, too 🙂
      I hope I can go to Voodoo again, I’m trying to figure out how to squeeze everything in. I’ll probably have to skip them if there’s a vegan donut vendor at the festival, but otherwise I’ll be eating 2 or 3 of their yeast risen donuts!

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