Where vegans meet

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Vegetarian Summerfest is the premier gathering of vegans in the northeast. Held on the bucolic (I look for every opportunity to use that word) campus of the University Pittsburgh at Johnstown, the five-day event invites noted speakers, chefs, authors, and innovators to present to hundreds of vegans hungry for knowledge (and hungry for the three vegan meals a day that are part of the registration fee).

To be honest, until arriving I was a little hesitant to attend. Fearing the worst (too much yoga and too much soy yogurt), I didn’t know what to expect and expected that I might feel somewhat out of place. A relatively new vegan tossed into an environment with seasoned (usually with nutritional yeast) vegans, how would I feel after the first day?

While we stood outside enjoying the cool Pennsylvania air and watching an 85-year-old attendee unload his trampoline no doubt part of his exercise regiment that keeps him going, I felt at home. Probably like a Jew feels in Israel.

These are my people. As quirky as many of them might be, we all subscribe to the same lifestyle, beliefs, values, and diet. We share the same challenges: what defines “vegan” and who has the best kale salad dressing recipe?

The start of this event unfolds an opportunity to spend time with fellow bloggers, see all the new books on veganism not yet released, visit exhibitors and find out about vegan products, talk with leading experts on everything “vegan” and, hopefully, inspire people to read my blog and hear my story.

If you’re attending Summerfest this year, please introduce yourself to me. I am excited to meet as many new people as possible.

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