Pittsburgh VegFest Brings Plant-Based Food And Fun To The North Side
The 9th annual event features live entertainment, food trucks and 165 vendors selling plant-based products.
With Picklesburgh under our collective belt, it’s time for another event where produce reigns supreme.
On Saturday, Aug. 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Pittsburgh VegFest will make Allegheny Commons Park on the North Side even greener. The ninth annual festival is free to attend and will feature vendors, food trucks, music, opportunities for barnyard animal interactions and family-friendly activities that promote a plant-based lifestyle.
Veggies rule, attendees drool at VegFest.
Pets are welcome, although fur-parents be warned: between 8,000 to 10,000 people attend the plant party each year.
Start the day on the right foot by attending Walk With A Doc, a 1.5-mile stroll around the park — the oldest one in Pittsburgh — led by Dr. Natalie Gentile, a plant-based physician who is board-certified in family and lifestyle medicine. You can register online Thursday evening or sign up the day of the event from 9 to 9:10 a.m.
Early-risers who purchased VIP passes can check in at 10 a.m. to get a jump on shopping and fill their reusable swag bags with more goodies while a DJ spins tunes. Bands will provide entertainment for the rest of the day. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Humane Animal Rescue Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Verona.
What can attendees expect to see?
“We really try to curate an assortment of top-notch vendors,” says Leila Sleiman, who founded VegFest in 2015 with friend and fellow animal advocate Natalie Fristick. “We get hundreds of submissions online.”
Vendor registration for next summer’s event will start in April or May.
Many local businesses will be making their VegFest debut on Saturday, including Vibrant Sunshine Juicery Cafe, an eatery focused on fresh foods, juice and organic kombucha. An offshoot of the Lawrenceville-based Pittsburgh Juice Company, it is expected to open this summer in the former Patty’s Farm Market in Aspinwall.
The new Essence Cafe on the South Side is bringing its brand, which blends African-fusion flavors to Allegheny Commons Park. Get a taste of Spinach Sambosa, Jollof, Pilau and other dishes.
At Third Space Bakery’s booth you can find sourdough pizza slices, curried “egg” salad sandwiches and other meatless treats. The worker-owned, community-oriented bakery and teaching facility is set to open soon in the former Spork Pit site in Garfield.
Regular VegFest visitors will see familiar faces, too. Viridis, which operated a brick-and-mortar vegan cafe on the South Side until March 2022, will be back with exclusive grub including sandwiches, doughnuts, pepperoni rolls and biscuits.
Onion Maiden had to shut down its physical space in Allentown this year, but its heavy metal foodie aesthetic is still going strong via pop-ups around town. They will be slinging a menu of Chick’n Sandwiches, Hot Dawgs and other vegan fare.
Out-of-town vendors include Maryland ChickAn, which is nationally known for its Filipino-style deep-fried watermelon topped with homemade vanilla icing, Florida’s Oh My Cod Vegan Seafood Co., and Los Angeles-based Southern Fried Vegan.
Come hungry and pig out — then go hog wild with the residents of Pigsburgh Squealers Rescue.