2012, Chicago VeganMania finally moved from the beautiful (but woefully
crowded) Pulaski Park Fieldhouse to the spacious and beautiful Broadway
Armory in Chicago's historic Edgewater
as the Chicago Park District’s largest indoor recreational facility,
the 87-year old, but newly renovated Broadway Armory turned out to be
the ideal size for Chicago VeganMania, and provided a lot of amenities
that helped to make Chicago VeganMania 4 event truly special. Our crowd
swelled to more than 4,000 happy souls, and there were so many
activities that most of them felt compelled to hang around most of the
• To begin with, we greatly expanded our Vegan Food Court to 14 restaurants: Arya Bhavan, Bot Bakery, Brother Tim's, The Chicago Diner, Nada Moo!, Native Foods, Ras Dashen, Robin's Frozen Fantasy, Root Pursuits, Sandi Swiss Sweets, Soul Vegan, Upton’s Naturals, Urban Vegan, and The Vegan Food Truck/Ste. Martaen.
Most of these place had long lines throughout the entire day, and most
ran out of food before the event was over. We had one big hungry crowd!
• We also expanded our Exhibit Hall
to a veritable city of amazing companies and non-profits proffering
everything from dozens of wonderful food products to vegan clothing,
shoes and handbags and cruelty free cosmetics and bodycare products.
There were also lots of wonderful nonprofits showing people ways to
build new communities and put all their kindness to work.
• Our Chef Demo Stage was bristling with excitement (and throbbing Satanic music) to welcome the colorful and unconventional YouTube sensation, the Vegan Black Metal Chef. The mood was a little more mainstream, but no less electric for demonstrations from author and vegan cheese expert Miyoko Schinner, Native Foods' master chef Kendall Huff, vegan baker extraordinaire Kat Barry, and Dandies Marshmallows' chef Jamie Howard.
• Our Presenter Stage drew great crowds to hear nutrition expert Ginny Kisch Messina, vegan author and athlete Ellen Jaffe Jones, Chicago veg historian and former restauranteur Kay Stepkin, vegan lifestyle guru Victoria Moran, and cattle-farmer-turned-vegan-activist Harold Brown.
• We also added a whole new feature called the Workshop Room, where attendees were able to interact with panels of experts on such topics as Veganism 101, Creative Activism - Using Your Life as Your Message, Vegan Nutrition and Wellness, and Building a Vegan Community. Panel experts included several of our presenters and chefs listed above as well as authors Marla Rose and Tambra Riddle, blogger Robert Grillo, local vegan leaders Vadim Moscolin, Debra Stephens and Ariane Glazer, entrepreneur Zarakyah Ahmadiel, nutritionists Eric Sharer and Carolyn Tampe, Miss Chicago Marisa Buckheit and several others.
• Another fun new feature was our Ask a Vegan Expert
table where attendees could get one-on-one advice from experts on such
topics as Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Veganic Gardening, Vegan Fitness, Vegan Childbirth and Parenting, and Vegan Cooking and Baking.
• The Culture Café Stage showcased a number of great singer-songwriters including the afore-mentioned Miss Chicago Marisa Buckheit, Luna Moth, Robinlee Garber, Bryan Harrell and Ollie Davidson, as well as poets Steve Brightman and TM Göttl.
• There were many other great features,
including a lively and activity-packed Kids’ Zone, a The Book Publishing Company Bookstore, the the Graffiti Wall and more. Under the warm
leadership of the amazing Gill Gillono, the Green Team successfully recovered more than 85% of the event's waste.
The whole affair was generously sponsored by Gold sponsors
Wide Awake Books: The Adventures of Vivian Sharpe, Vegan Superhero, Silver Sponsors: The Book Publishing Company, The Chicago Diner and Chicago Vegan Foods, Bronze Sponsors: Bot Bakery, Chicago Veg, Mary's Gone Crackers, Soul Vegan, Upton's Naturals and Wedrose Acres Animal Sanctuary, Media Sponsors: Natural Awakenings Magazine and WCPT-FM Radio, and In-Kind Sponsor: Framing Mode.
© 2013, Chicago VeganMania