Written By Indi Ary - March 01 2019
Vegan Street Fair is an annual event held in North Hollywood, that hosts over 200 vegan food vendors, and 30,000 attendees. The annual event takes up over one-mile worth of streets, and even has a beer garden! It’s a one stop shop to try all things vegan- burgers, ribs, mac n’ cheese, hot dogs, and more. And this year (2019) it’s a 2-Day Event!
Since its conception, Vegan Street Fair has been a passion project for Event Organizer Jessica Schoech.
“At the time of initial planning in 2014, I had been in development on an iPhone app over the course of 4 years for vegan food finding around the world. As I was populating the database for Los Angeles, I noticed that I could live here for 10 years and never eat at all of the vegan and vegan friendly places LA had to offer. So, I thought... why don’t I create an event where they all come to me instead?”
Schoech’s idea behind the event was that she wanted Vegan Street Fair to invite non-vegans to explore the vegan culture in a non- intimidating way.
“VSF is a way to plant as many seeds as humanly possible in one place without barriers such as high ticket and food prices. That’s why VSF is free to enter. We heavily promote the food, fun, the good vibes, and the ‘normalness’ of this type of event and its people so that non-vegans can eat a good meal while hanging with good people and MAYBE think to themselves... ‘wow, this is veganism? I can do this!’"
It turns out that this approach was appealing to the community, because the first ever Vegan Street Fair, which Scoech describes as “bananas,” had over 10,000 attendees!
“It was my first large scale event ever and the first of its kind in the world. It was a smash success within the first 30 minutes, and we knew the next year that we had to revamp tickets and find a bigger street because the crowds kept coming. The universe has a serious sense of humor so that day, in the middle of North Hollywood on March 1st, 2015, it began to rain. The DJ played Its Raining Men, Here Comes the Rain, and I’m Only Happy When It Rains. At this point, attendees were laughing about the bizarre scene, after all, rain in LA is a rarity. BUT... to everyone’s surprise, the rain stopped and gave way to... wait for it... HAIL. It actually started hailing on 10,000 people at a vegan festival. I left that event in tears, drenched, frozen, fulfilled and determined to make VSF 2016 the best it could be. And I think we’ve aimed and succeeded at doing that every year since.”
Scoech’s determination has paid off, because each year Vegan Street Fair has grown immensely, adding on new vendors and concepts each year.
“The most exclusive of the events VSF has created is called Vegan Street Fair Nights curated by Instagram badass @VeganFatKid. At this event, VeganFatKid curates 14 highly sought-after vendors that one would normally not see out at an event. This event features a DJ, karaoke or live band performances, a beer garden, games, and a night time vibe.”
In all of the growth, Scoech has found inspiration and hope for the future of veganism. She is excited about the role that Vegan Street Fair gets to play in this movement for change.
“We hope to be an incubator for vendors who need a start and who need someone to believe in them. I hope to see more people recognize North Hollywood as a hub for veganism, culture, and community.
I imagine veganism will only continue to flourish in this ever-changing world where things like climate change, animal cruelty, and racialized speciesism are becoming more common movements for folks to discover and take up arms to dismantle. Building this community was an accident, to be honest, but it has become the thing that gives me life because if there is anything in this world that we need more of, it’s for people to believe in us. These vendors all believe in each other which helps fuel their passion for changing the world. They know we have their backs and that might as well be rocket fuel for them to continue thriving in this volatile food industry. Together, we can achieve anything.”
This year vegan street fair will be held on March 23rdand 24th. For more information on the Vegan Street Fair, please visit www.veganstreetfair.com. And make sure to stop by to see us, Indi & Ary, in person to chat about our favorite makeup!