Vegan fest draws thousands to Eastern Market
Detroit — Metro Detroiters moved to a no-meat beat Thursday for the city's first vegan fesitval.
The V313 festival drew more than 2,000 people to Eastern Market's Shed 5 to celebrate local products and resources for those who eschew animal products against a backdrop of live music from Rosie and the Fellas and Once United.
John Batdorf, event manager of MI Green Team, said organizers already are planning for a larger V313 festival next year.
"We love Eastern Market and we're already pushing our boundaries in this facility," Batdorf said. "We're already planning on having a larger space next year. Perhaps including the outside of Shed 5."
The event, hosted by MI Green Team, included entertainers, vegan resources, cooking demonstrations, panels of experts and vegan food.
The festival also featured vegan-friendly restaurants and food trucks including Detroit Vegan Soul, the Nosh Pit Detroit, the Clean Plate, Crepe Day Twah and Plum Market, with live music from Rosie and the Fellas and Once United.
More than 50 exhibitors showcased products or services including animal rights lawyers, shelters and Whole Foods Market, cosmetics, massage therapy and apparel.
"I've been vegan for a year now and I came to be exposed to new local products besides the mainstream ones that are already popular," said Stephanie Holland, 35, of Warren.
Panel discussions included “Vegans of Color” and “Plant-Powered Women." National speakers Milton Mills of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Black Vegans Rock and YouTube figure Mic the Vegan also participated.
Fan favorites like chips and salsa from Simply Gourmet, cosmetics from Whipped Cosmetics, mac and cheese from Detroit Vegan Soul, empanadas from Clean Plate, gin from High Five Spirits, dips and sauces from Superdip and desserts from Safflower Street nearly sold out.
"My favorite has to be the vegan brownies and gin from High Five," said Latoya Johnson, 45. "I came for the cooking classes and to meet some other vegan groups I don't already know. I already got a lot of information and I've barely got through half of it."