‘Vegandale’ draws over 100 vegan vendors to Grant Park

So-called "nozarella" sticks were on sale over the weekend at Vegandale in Grant park. Photo credit Terry Keshner

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Chicagoans saw an overload of vegan food options in Grant Park over the weekend, thanks to the annual “Vegandale.”

The event, which makes stops across the United States, brought more than 150 vendors from all over the country to downtown Chicago to sell plant-based food, drinks and merchandise.

Among the vendora was Brian Gervase, who sells Chicago classics with a plant-based approach at “Chicago Not Dogs” on the North Side.

“We try to keep right to authentic Chicago food, heart healthy, making it great, everything,” Gervase said. “We've got the ‘nozarella’ sticks, got the pizza puffs, we've the fresh cut fries, we've got the combo, we've got the Italian beef.”

Nadine Middleton is from west suburban Forest Park. She said it's important to go vegan “for the animals, because they're not being sacrificed.” She added, though,  that the food is delicious.

Dominick Butera operates “Secret Vegan Kitchen” in New York City. He said he went vegan years ago to lose weight but now does it for the food and the animals.

Crowds at Vegandale in Grant Park on Sunday. Photo credit Terry Keshner

“Once you go vegan, you kind of get into the whole animal aspect of it, so that's what's important,” Butera said.

Sam Stoppi, from Los Angeles, was selling vegan T-shirts and  said he wants people to look and promote the “vegan agenda” in addition to eating vegan food.

“We feel that if you can promote the message while you're walking around and wearing clothing, that's another way to spread the awareness of not eating animals,” Stoppi said.

It's estimated that only 0.5% of Americans are vegan, and while many of those attending “Vegandale” were not vegan, they said they still walked away loving the food.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Terry Keshner