After a ten–year run, Texas VegFest is ending its annual event indefinitely. The festival canceled its 2020 and 2021 events due to the pandemic. After skipping a year due to Covid-19, event coordinators decided not to revive the festival.
The event has always been free to patrons and utilizes volunteers. Over the years, attendance has grown by the thousands as some of the biggest attractions included vendors specializing in vegan and plant–based foods.
“The COVID-19 pandemic made the decision to cancel in 2020 an easy one, but those same questions about the future persisted into 2021,” said founder James Scott.
“The reality is that our ability to raise the funds through sponsorship and vendor fees has not kept pace with the continually rising costs of organizing an event in the way we think it should be done,” Scott said. “We understand that many would be willing to pay to attend, but charging for entry makes it a different kind of event.”
Adding a fee for entrance would deter those who may only be interested in delving into the vegan, plant-based lifestyle. The free event appeared to attract those curious about making a possible change to their eating habits.
Other challenges include the red tape that goes along with running a free event in the city. Getting the required amount of volunteers year after year to help run the Texas VegFest was a challenge.
“While the world is not vegan, yet, the progress that has been made since our first event in 2010 has been inspiring,” Scott said.
For those sad to see VegFest canceled indefinitely, two other vegetable–focused festivals are held each year. Houston and Austin run a similar event on a smaller scale.