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2nd Annual Texas State Veggie Fair

October 31, 2011

Just over a week ago, at the end of a weekend that had already included getting engaged and attending a food-packed kickoff party, the main event, the 2nd Annual Texas State Veggie Fair, went off with a bang!

Photo courtesy of Sylvia Elzafon

Christy planned and executed this whole affair with her boyfriend Jamey of Dallas Vegan, plus a bevy of helpful volunteers. I was honored to be in the company of such fellow speakers as Marisa Miller Wolfson, writer and director of the documentary film Vegucated (which we got to see a screening of at the Vida Vegan Blogger Conference in August); Julieanna Hever, a.k.a. the Plant-Based Dietitian; yoga instructor Nicole Sopko; and Nathan Runkle, founder of Mercy For Animals.

Photo courtesy of Sylvia Elzafon

Matt and I started off the day with a visit to the Jackalope Mobile Vegan Kitchen on the fairgrounds. There were so many great food vendors that it was hard to choose, but Jackalope’s menu called out to us.

Matt had a mini “meatball” sub, redolent of fennel and walnuts, and I had a serving of tangy chili-lime grilled tofu over brown rice.

We stopped by the Hail Merry tent, where I finally got to meet Susan, their founder (we’ve been internet friends and correspondents for what seems like forever now!). I’m sure you can imagine my delight when she gifted me with one of their award-winning Chocolate Raw Almond Butter Tarts, a flavor I hadn’t had a chance to try yet.

Suffice it to say, it lived up to the hype. Dark dark chocolate crust, unctuous almond butter filling, and a melt-in-your-mouth ganache topping. Heavenly. Thanks again, Susan!

By then, the fair was filling up like crazy, and it was already evident that far more people than expected were showing up. I think they’d anticipated about 1,000, but more than 2,500 attended!

That’s when the real madness began. I spent quite awhile in the kitchen, prepping for my first raw food demo with a couple volunteers (plus Matt, who was enlisted to help!). When it was finally go-time, I was shocked at the number of people in attendanceโ€”every seat was filled, and even more people were standing along the walls and in the back of the room. Intimidating! I took a deep breath and headed out there.

Photo courtesy of Sylvia Elzafon

After getting over my initial nervousness (and lack of skill with the microphone, oops), I think my first demo went quite well; I definitely relaxed and loosened up as I went along. I made my massaged Kale-Tahini Salad (the recipe will be in my cookbook!), which only took a few minutes to throw together.

Photo courtesy of Sylvia Elzafon

I took questions from the audience as they enjoyed the samples that were passed out. I was floored by the level of interest everyone showed and all the thoughtful questions that were asked. So many people seemed genuinely interested in raw food preparation, benefits, science, and recipes. I could honestly have stayed up there another half hour answering people’s questions; they just kept coming! We had to get cut off at some point, though, and I invited everyone back for my second demo later in the afternoon.

I loved getting to meet so many fans throughout the day. Some people have followed me for a long time now, while for others, this was their first introduction to me and my work. Sherry here shared with me her positive experiences with juicing and raw foods…

…and I met Stephanie of Good Girl Gone Green, a Twitter buddy. (If anyone else in attendance has any “fan photos” of/with me, please email them to me!)

I talked to far more people than I can name here, but know that I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and chatting with every one of you.

I went back to the kitchen to prep for demo #2, then hit the stage again a couple hours later. There were fewer people in attendance this time…

…which is too bad, because I was making my Famous 5-Minute Blondies! Originally posted here on the blog as a single-serving treat, a full-batch version of the blondies are in my upcoming cookbook.

I was much more comfortable during this second demo, and despite the smaller audience, people were just as enthusiastic and inquisitive as before. I absolutely loved seeing the looks on everyone’s faces as they tried the samples of the blondies. (I wish I had a photo of those, but sadly I don’t! If anyone in attendance took a picture, please email it to me.) People even asked for seconds, and they swarmed the stage when an extra tray was brought out! I answered many more great questions, and talked to even more fans afterward. I can’t tell you how amazing it was for me to get to interact with people who already knew – or who now know! – and enjoy my work.

Photo courtesy of Sylvia Elzafon

Thank you all – the organizers, the volunteers, the attendees, the audience members, the fans who knew me, everyone – for making the 2nd Annual Texas State Veggie Fair one hell of a day to remember! I already can’t wait until next year.

3 years ago…
Pumpkin oatmeal cookies
A vegan taste of India (cooking class)
2 years ago…
Almost Vegan in Rome, Italy
1 year ago…
Matthew Kenney Academy: pad thai, sushi, ice cream
Matthew Kenney Academy: seaweed salad & chocolate bars

34 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2011 12:16 pm

    What a wonderful opportunity for you! Congrats!! Sounds like you enjoyed yourself a lot!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 31, 2011 12:31 pm

      Thanks Noelle! It was a great event. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. October 31, 2011 12:17 pm

    That’s so fun!! It sounds like you did an awesome job, and that this will be the start to many more food demos ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 31, 2011 12:24 pm

      Amen! I think it’s only the beginning for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. October 31, 2011 12:21 pm

    what a fun event I would love to see you do a demo!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 31, 2011 12:23 pm

      Hopefully this is just the first of many to come! With any luck, when my book is released, I’ll be able to do some touring in support of it.

  4. October 31, 2011 12:39 pm

    You were great. I am so happy we got a chance to meet! Again, I wish J.P would have told me my bra was showing.That’s what happens when you are carrying around a baby….

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 31, 2011 3:02 pm

      Haha! I’m really happy we got to meet too, bra strap or no bra strap ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. October 31, 2011 2:22 pm

    Glad to hear that your demos went well! The whole fair sounds like fun, and that chocolate almond butter cup looks AMAZING.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 31, 2011 2:41 pm

      Totally amazing, and HUGE! You can’t really tell from the pic, but it’s 3-4 inches in diameter.

  6. October 31, 2011 2:46 pm

    Way to go! Looks like a blast!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 31, 2011 2:50 pm

      It was a great event! I was happy to be a part of it.

  7. October 31, 2011 3:59 pm

    Glad your demos went over so well and that people enjoyed your food. I love that you have a full pan version of the raw blondie in the book, just another reason to look forward to it!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 31, 2011 4:00 pm

      I found myself always quadrupling the batch anyway, so I thought a full-pan version would be even more useful than the single serving! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. October 31, 2011 4:41 pm

    Hey Amber! I saw you make your massaged kale salad at the Veggie Fair. I have made it at least three times since last Sunday (including today for lunch)! It’s filling and delicious! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 31, 2011 4:42 pm

      Emily, that’s so great to hear! I’m so happy you liked the demo, and have been enjoying the salad recipe at home. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. October 31, 2011 6:07 pm

    Sounds like an awesome opportunity–I’m so glad you got to do it, and it sounds like you made some wonderful connections.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 31, 2011 6:29 pm

      I’m glad I convinced myself to do it! I had cold feet, big time ๐Ÿ™‚ But taking the risk really did pay off.

  10. October 31, 2011 7:16 pm

    That’s awesome! I’m glad everything went smoothly. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 31, 2011 7:20 pm

      Thanks! Me too, heh.

  11. October 31, 2011 8:52 pm

    Oooo – that meatball sub looks good! I hope I can attend next year somehow!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 31, 2011 11:03 pm

      I hope you can too! That’d be awesome!

  12. November 1, 2011 5:24 am

    Oh Amber, I’m so proud of you! Soon there’ll be no one, no one in this world who doesn’t know and worship and learn from you.

    What, hyperbole? Me? Never!


    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 1, 2011 8:08 am

      Worldwide worship would be a little awkward for me, but I suppose I couldn’t complain if it came to that, right? ๐Ÿ˜›

      • November 1, 2011 4:54 pm

        It’s just be like a new religion, surely! And we both know how well religion often turns out ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
        November 1, 2011 5:11 pm

        Good point. Worldwide worship is starting to sound not-so-good after all…

      • November 1, 2011 5:14 pm

        No, I still maintain that worldwide worship of you would only ever be a good thing xo

  13. November 1, 2011 7:27 am

    wow, what a great opportunity!!! I do demo’s for groups and I think I am nervous every single time!!! Once I start talking it goes away though!! It is always fun to see reactions and faces and the excitement that people bring when they feel inspired!!! That chocolate almond butter treat looks amazing!!!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 1, 2011 8:09 am

      I have a feeling I’ll be nervous each time too! But you’re right, seeing excited reactions in the audience is really a treat to behold.

  14. November 2, 2011 12:15 am

    Good job Amber! I wish that fair would be in Austin or San Antonio – I would love to attend! It would be fantastic to meet you in person.

    ps – I like the last picture – I think it’s the first time I’ve seen an open mouthed smile on you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 2, 2011 10:07 am

      Ha, yeah, you caught me…I learned over the years to avoid “with-teeth” smiles, as they make my already-very-round face look, well, rather pumpkin-like…heh.

      Texas VegFest in March is in Austin, you should go to that one! I might be there too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Mom permalink
    November 4, 2011 10:32 pm

    Great post, Amber. What a success your trip was….in lots of ways!
    Btw, I LOVE your profile picture at the top of the page. You look gorgeous!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      November 4, 2011 10:33 pm

      Thanks – it was a very eventful trip!
      What profile pic?

  16. Mom permalink
    November 5, 2011 11:09 am

    …the picture at the top of this page just below where you sign up to get email updates! It’s a great photo.

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