Kellie Hwang, The Republic | azcentral.com1:47 p.m. MST February 23, 2016
More proof the vegan lifestyle is in? Check out the inaugural PHX Vegan Food Festival on Saturday, Feb. 27.
The event features vegan restaurants and vendors, a beer and wine garden, food sampling and live music at the Phoenix Theatre campus off Central Avenue and McDowell Road.
Davisson Entertainment is the local company hosting the festival, which is the brainchild of Daniel Davisson. He started to embrace the vegan lifestyle after attending the Vegan Beer & Food Festival in Portland and spending more time with his vegan and vegetarian friends.
"Phoenix has a strong vegan community, and I thought that an event should be done here as well," he said. "The idea is to educate people who are not aware of vegan topics. People tend to think that vegans are hippies, and I want to bring a little more awareness to the lifestyle. They don't just eat kale and sprouts, and there are plenty of good vegan options throughout the state."
While not a vegan himself, Davisson has adopted vegan practices and changed his habits, learning about vegan and animal cruelty-free vendors, being more informed about where food comes from, and getting more involved in animal and environmental rights.
Festival visitors will get to sample vegan offerings from a wide variety of food vendors, including Urban Beans, 24 Carrots, Iss' Magic Mixes, Juice Core, The Coronado, Pomegranate Cafe, Cafe Lalibela, Simon's Hot Dogs, PB Americano and Green Heart Bakery.
"We pride ourselves on being a fully produced event from Phoenix, with local vendors and local staff," Davisson said.
Food trucks, such as Mi Vegana Madre, Affogato Truck and Southern Fried Vegan, also will have food for purchase. Watch cooking demonstrations from chefs Jason Wyrick and Madelyn Pryor of The Vegan Taste, a vegan lifestyle website, and Will Tucker, vegan trainer and owner of Will Tucker Fitness.
A beer garden will feature vegan and non-vegan beverages, and two stages of entertainment will include performances from Soulective, Weslynn, Saith and Pride Through Strife. A youth area will keep kids busy with yoga, vegan cookie-making and giant Jenga.
Vegan-friendly groups and businesses also will be on site, including the Animal Defense League, Zen Comfort, Oh Kale Yeah!, PETA, Desert Flower Shop and Crunchy Mamas' Market.
Details: Saturday, Feb. 27. Noon-5 p.m. (VIP entry starts at 11 a.m.). Phoenix Theatre campus, 100 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix. $25 for general admission (includes one drink token), $60 for VIP (includes early admission, two drink tokens and a swag bag). davissonentertainment.com, phxveganfest.com.