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Summer Vegan Fete – 25th August 2012

Having organised the London Vegan Festival (formerly the National Vegan Festival) since 1998, we decided to create an entirely new event – a vegan fete! Alison and Robin, and Kelly Slade (who had been involved with the 2009 & 2011 festivals and the London Vegan Pledge), began laying the foundations. Firstly, we needed to choose a venue and decided upon Conway Hall, Holborn, which had the right `feel` for an indoor fete. We then decided upon the layout of the hall. Stalls around the edge, two rows of tables in the centre covered in green gingham table coverings and multi coloured bunting to hang from one side of the gallery to the other (280ft in all). Whilst creating adequate space to sit and eat we also provided playing cards and dominoes for attendees to play games. Several smaller tables were also provided with bowls of sweets to share.

We booked 30 stalls in all, covering a wide range of interests including cakes, savouries, organic skin care, chocolate,  henna tattoos, second hand books, face painting, raw food, ice cream, `cheese`, `hot dogs`, cosmetics and toiletries, and handmade cards. Vegan Bodybuilding ran a shoulder-press contest which proved very popular, and we even had a vegan hairdresser!

Unfortunately, due to financial considerations, we were unable to hire the small park in the centre of Red Lion Square, which we had originally intended to use for picnics. However, two heavy downpours during the day probably would have sent picnickers running for cover!

Children were kept entertained by Claire Gilbert and Heather Foster`s music and craft workshops, and Alison`s `printing on recycled cotton bags` workshop proved popular with adults and children alike. Those needing to `get away from it all for a while` could relax within a meditative space with Leor and a workshop by Genene Edwards centred on `Awareness & Connection` and encouraged us to connect with ourselves and others.

Other workshops included a demonstration by Ms.Cupcake on how to make Victoria sponge cake and frosting, and how to ice the cake. Valerie McKen demonstrated `Raw Sweet Making` and Theresa Webb`s `Delicious freshly made season soup` went down a treat.

A prize draw held twice during the day, and where everyone had the chance to win one of several prizes, proved very popular. All in all, the day was an outstanding success, with over 1000 attending. We thank all who attended, helping to create a truly wonderful atmosphere and especially the volunteers without whose help the Fete would not have been possible! The event was organised by CALF (in association with Vegan Campaigns) and photos of the day can be viewed here.


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