VegFest returns to Pittsburgh on Saturday, with local businesses and enthusiasts sharing information about living a vegan lifestyle.
Though, non-vegans are encouraged to check out the event too, which starts at 11 a.m. at Allegheny Commons Park East on the North Side.
“You don’t have to come out and be vegan the next day,” said Natalie Fristick who is an organizer of the event and co-founder of Justice for Animals. “We want you to come out, try something new and see what you like.”
Fristick said Pittsburgh’s Vegan scene is growing, with more options available at local businesses.
“We might not have many all-vegan restaurants, which we do have a few, but there are vegan options in so many places,” said Leila Sleiman, who co-founded Justice for Animals with Fristick.
One of those restaurants is the Double Wide Grill, which will showcase some of its vegan menu options at VegFest on Saturday. Ryan Moore, the restaurant’s director of events, said the chain’s unusual combination of barbeque and vegan fare was designed to offer options that everyone can enjoy.
“There aren’t a lot of places where someone can go and bring their dad who only eats meat, but then they are vegan themselves and want to have a nice meal and a fun place to go,” he said.
Local proponents of eating vegan said it’s a less expensive option than meat too.
“There’s something to be said for how much a pound of beef costs compared to a pound of lentils and brown rice,” Sleiman said. “I think it’s a misconception that veganism is somehow elitist or a bubble or that you have to have money.”
Clarifying those misconceptions is a huge motivating factor for VegFest, Fistick said.
VegFest will also include speakers focusing on areas such as nutrition, the ethics behind veganism and wildlife, in addition to live music performances.