The first Vegan SoulFest was held on Saturday, October 25th to a raving success. The brainchild of Naijha Wright and a partner.
The theme of the Vegan SoulFest centered on raising awareness about the vegan lifestyle; one where any animal products of any kind are not used, whether for food or clothing. Dr. Ruby Lathon, PhD (pictured) was one of the two headline presenters. Dr. Lathon's presentation included an account of personal health recovery from a major illness by way of changing her diet away from meat and other than natural products to a vegetable based diet. She intimated to the audience that most illnesses - cancer, diabetes, heart disease - suffered today are food induced and can either be prevented or cured by what we eat or don't eat.
At least forty exhibitors presented a variety of products, goods, and services in keeping with the objective of the event. There were food vendors offering a wide variety of vegetable based foods in preparations familiar and not so familiar dishes, like barbecue tofu to curried tofu; even a multi-bean stew with corn chips entree; drinks included juiced vegetables, fresh cut coconuts drinks, and fruit infused teas. There were health practitioners including massage therapist, nutritionist, and chiropractor; animal rights advocate groups; and food-rights advocates. There were natural hair and skincare products manufactures and retailers, natural fiber clothing and synthetic accessories exhibitors, and even a vegetarian travel company.
The event was held at the Downtown Cultural Center located at the corners of Howard and Mulberry Streets, a two story building that proved too small for the overwhelming response from participating vendors, consequently exhibitors were situated outside up and around the block. For the three hours I spent there a steady flow of people that kept the building and sidewalks crowded. In numerous places one had to squeeze by others to keep it moving.
From a cultural perspective the success was had in the very large African American turnout; I would venture a guess of at least 85-95%. Certainly this answered whether there was an African American participation interest in this lifestyle and to what extent. There was a balance of African and Non-African American exhibitors, yet largely an African American attendance.
From a business perspective indicators are that this can become a truly large and financially successful event for promoters and exhibitors alike. Reports are showing that as more and more people turn to healthier diets and lifestyles the businesses and services that support this change and growth will continue to benefit in a very lucrative way. There is no doubt that we will continue to see more of the Vegan SoulFest, and we should.
For more information listen to an October 21, 2014 interview with Naijha Wright about the Vegan SoulFest on BmoreNatural Holistic Life Radio with host Heru-Ka Anu: Click Here
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