Once you’ve been vegan for more than a week, you begin to realize that life is a lot more fun when you surround yourself with like-minded individuals (who, yes, just so happen to love kale). Sharing food and never having to explain where you get your protein are two reasons why having a plant-powered posse is part of having the best life ever, but what happens if your social circle doesn’t include many (or any) people who share your values? The answer, of course, is to attend vegan-friendly events where other cruelty-free people will be! Whether you seek like-minded friends or a love connection, we’ve found seven vegan gatherings that are happening this summer (and fall!) where you’re guaranteed to meet other vegtastic folks.
1. Compassion in Action
On August 26 in Oakland, CA, award-winning author and acclaimed speaker Colleen Patrick-Goudreau hosts Compassion in Action, a one-day event that brings together those interested in animal advocacy. In addition to new contacts, attendees will leave with tools and resources to be able to effectively enact change in their communities. With a robust lineup of speakers, the gathering also provides guests with a framework to act on their shared values in powerful ways. Whether you are socially, politically, or personally driven by a desire to change the world for animals, you’ll meet with many compassionate individuals during this educational experience.
2. Plant Powered Run & Walk For Animals
Between September and November, Farm Sanctuary hosts an array of Plant Powered Run & Walk For Farm Animals events in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Phoenix, Grand Rapids, MI, and Philadelphia. The gatherings allow people of all dietary backgrounds to get in shape while learning how a compassionate world is beneficial for all living creatures. This year, the gathering adds a run component to outrun animal cruelty with compassion, so get your running shoes ready!
3. Mercy For Animals Hidden Heroes Gala
Meet high profile vegans and their supporters at Mercy For Animals’ third annual Hidden Heroes Gala, taking place September 23 in Los Angeles. Celebrate the brave undercover investigators fighting animal cruelty while enjoying a gourmet vegan dinner and a celebrity-studded awards show. Even better? You are guaranteed to hobnob with plenty of fellow vegans at the rocking after-party under the stars.
4. World Veg Festival
For more than 18 years, San Francisco’s World Veg Festival has united vegetarians and vegans to celebrate World Veg Day. With an exciting day full of nutrition experts, motivating speakers, cooking demonstrations, and great veg products, this event is plant-based fun for everyone! Come October 1 to this educational and inspiring festival to join others committed to a plant-based lifestyle, and celebrate the joy of healthy, ethic, and sustainable living.
5. Soul Camp
Reawaken the power we had as children at Soul Camp, a multi-day, multi-location (August 23–27 in New York and October 24–28, 2017 in Wonder Valley, CA), all-inclusive wellness sleepaway and day camp for adults. Leave your worries and iPhones behind to gather and participate in dozens of workshops, classes, and seminars that nourish your body, mind, and spirit—including kundalini yoga, oneness meditation, dance, cardio workout routines, bootcamp, stand up paddleboarding, breathwork, dreamcatcher creating, indigo dying, energy work, essential oils 101, ropes-adventure courses, trampoline parks, mala-bead making, and more! Meet your soulmate or new best friend while noshing vegan and gluten-free s’mores around the campfire or one of the many plant-based meal and snack options during camp.
6. Farm Sanctuary’s Celebration for the Turkeys
Each November, Farm Sanctuary gives thanks to its supporters and the amazing animals in its care at their Celebration for the Turkeys (November 4-5, in Acton, CA and November 18–19 in Watkins Glen, NY). Mingle with those equally passionate about animals during the event’s open sanctuary time with cows, pigs, chickens, goats, and sheep. Then, enjoy delicious vegan fare, presentations from experts in the animal-protection movement, and a “Feeding of the Turkeys Ceremony,” during which the sanctuary’s beloved turkeys are honored with a feast of pumpkin pie, kale salad, cranberries, and squash. Come for the turkeys, and stay for the wonderful company that celebrates both human and non-human life.
7. Thanksliving 2017
Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary’s 12th annual Thanksliving gala brings kind-hearted foodies together for a special event that includes delicious vegan food, talented entertainers, and inspiring awards. Participate in the festivities as an event attendee or volunteer. Either way, you will bond with others dedicated to helping animals in their communities.
Stephanie Dreyer is a freelance writer and author who looks forward to teaching others about the joy of plant-based cooking in her class at Soul Camp West this October.
Photo courtesy of Happy Cow