On May 25, two Chicago-based vegans will host their third pop-up vegan roller derby and marketplace event in Markham, IL. Founded by roller-skating enthusiasts Ash Mateja and Abbas Jaffary, the family-friendly Plant-Based Skate will include an evening skating session with an in-house DJ and an all-vegan marketplace featuring vegan food, handmade bath and body products, jewelry, art, and apparel. “All of our vendors contribute to wellness and sustainability in a unique way,” Jaffary said. “Skating is one part of wellness, and we realized ‘shopping while skating’ is a great way to view and try vegan products in person.” The inaugural Plant-Based Skate event took place in January in Markham and, despite a snowstorm, it attracted approximately 200 people. The second event in March was larger, and the May market is expected to be the largest yet. Mateja and Jaffary focus on suburban roller rinks in an effort to serve an area that is often overlooked by vegan events, and to avoid the high costs associated with Chicago-based locations. “Our event draws from two tight-knit and semi-niche communities: Chicago vegans and Chicago skaters,” Jaffary said. “I’ve found both groups to be very welcoming to newcomers, and I think that really sets the tone for the event.” The organizers hope to continue offering the bi-monthly Plant-Based Skate and eventually expand to other cities.
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