Calling all vegans! We’re guessing that more than half of California would answer that call by name, so let’s talk vegan food festivals. The San Francisco Bay Area is the unofficial vegan capital of the U.S., and quite possibly the whole world. In most major California cities. Yummy vegan stands and restaurants are cropping up almost as frequently as major fast food chains. California is practically overflowing with green smoothies and organically delicious desserts with the power to convert even some serious meat eaters. So hop on over to the green side (at least for as long as it takes for us to clue you into some of the best Bay area vegan festivals.
1. World Veg Festival
One of our favorite vegan festivals is none other than the World Veg Festival. Organized by the San Francisco Vegetarian Society, the World Veg Festival treats locals and tourists to the best of vegan cuisine. Combining a cornucopia of whole, organic foods with creativity and expertise, this festival has variety on its side. What’s more, guests can attend easy-to-learn cooking demonstrations that show them out to fit vegetarian and vegan meals into any lifestyle. There will also be workshops about the nutritional benefits and value of vegan and vegetarian diets. A major concern of people who are considering going vegan or vegetarian is whether they’ll still get the protein and sustenance they need from favorite meat-based foods. The World Veg Festival provides guests with a sumptuous variety of meals- with a side of education if you need it. (Don’t worry, you can just go for the food).
How many people do you know who want to go vegan, but don’t think they have enough time or money to source and cook quality plant-based meals? Many people have the desire to go vegetarian or vegan. but not the knowledge or how-to. We love that this festival isn’t just a delicacy, but actually teaches easy-to-learn, affordable recipes you can do at home. This vegan festival is also known for its warm, friendly environment, so you won’t have to worry about being bombarded by vegans who want to convert you if you do eat meat. It’s just a fun way to explore veganism and vegan foods sans pressure- and plus live entertainment and special dinners based on your preferences. This vegan festival also has free admission. Delicious, cultured vegan cuisine plus zero cost...you do the math.
2. Central Coast VegFest
This vegan festival’s agenda is complete with something for just about everyone. Famous for its friendly, non-threatening environment, Central Coast VegFest is ripe with opportunities to learn about veganism to whatever extent you like- while indulging in an authentic variety of vegan cuisine. If you’re curious about veganism or simply would like to learn how to make some great vegan meals at home, this vegan festival has expert vegan chefs who are happy to teach you how to fit vegan meals into your daily lifestyle. If you’re interested in going vegan, it’s a commitment that takes some knowledge- and new combos of ingredients to create the tastes you want with plant-based foods. Central Coast VegFest can teach you how to make a diverse range of delicious meals from the comfort of home, so you’ll take something of value with you when you leave (besides all the free samples).
Central Coast VegFest celebrates a plant-based, sustainable lifestyle as well as delicious vegan food. Part of this lifestyle includes being environmentally mindful, and this festival’s environment reflects those values. Speakers range from popular health and beauty authors and bloggers to vegan media moguls and top-rated chefs. So there’s a lot to learn about all aspects of the plant-based lifestyle, as well as its unique health and nutritional benefits. So even if you’re more of a “flexitarian” than a vegetarian, you’ll want to give this one a go. Also, it’s free. Need we say more?
3. South Bay Veg Fair
Hosted by the Vegan Society, this vegan festival is hallmarked by a strong sense of community- and an amazing variety of fresh vegan cuisine, of course. The festival takes place on the Santa Clara Fairgrounds, and includes art expos, over 100 exhibitors, music, kid-friendly activities, and even pet adoptions!
VegFair has a mission, and that’s to bring the Bay Area community together for some worthy causes. This super-inclusive vegan festival’s workshops and environment focuses on education, health, and healing. You’ll learn about the healing power of some vegan superfoods and how they’re used as natural cures or adjuvants for different physical and mental conditions. You’ll enjoy a diverse range of speakers and workshops about vegan cooking, lifestyle, and special concerns. Most of all, VegFest is an opportunity to connect and make new memories with vegans and conscious people in a friendly, supportive environment. Attendees often put their minds and hearts together to discuss new visions and ideas for the future of the worldwide and local vegan communities.
4. Sonoma County VegFest
Let’s venture over to the North Bay for the Sonoma County Vegfest, a real favorite among Californians. It’s more than a place to eat and love your way through dozens of Bay Area vendors- it’s also a celebration of compassionate, health-conscious, and environmentally responsible living. There will be speakers, two stages, inspiring films, and educational cooking demos that focus on the nutritious value of the foods being made. If you like your vegan festivals with a side of cuteness and a lot of heart, Sonoma County VegFest is also hosting adoptions for animals in need. So if you’ve been wanting to adopt a pet that needs you most, this is the time and place.
Admission for this event isn’t free like the festivals mentioned above, but it’s only $5 and it goes to a good cause: local non-profit compassionate living.
5. 2019 Oakland VegFest
Hosted on beautiful Lake Merritt, 2019 Oakland VegFest has one of the most exciting list of speakers at this year’s vegan events. The list features Chef Tirzah Love, a beloved celebrity chef among vegans across the country. Tirzah is also owner of the wildly popular catering company and sensation, Tirzah Catering. Sid Garza-Hillman will also be speaking at Oakland VegFest. For those of you who don’t know, Garza-Hillman is a nutritionist, author, and podcaster who has a massive vegan following on YouTube. Rather than offering fad diets and quick fixes, he focuses on long-term, sustainable lifestyle changes that contribute to self-esteem and joy in life. He fits in perfectly at Oakland VegFest, where the focus is on the joy and beauty of conscious, sustainable living. The festival will also feature a speaker panel from Food Justice in the Oakland Flats, a mobile food market that literally brings whole, organic foods to community members. This group shares yet another mission with Oakland VegFest: to bring sustainable living options to all communities in the Bay Area rather than commercializing veganism with patronage of large corporations. The CEO of Wild Earth and speakers from Madela Grocery Cooperative will also be in attendance.
Another special feature is VegFest’s lineup of live music performances by Far I, CLEAN, The Black Excellence Band, Shino Smoke, and Quite The Idea. So if you love supporting local or indie music that resonates with a good cause, this is your vegan festival for 2019. If you volunteer at this event, it will be worth your while. You’ll take home a swag bag full of gifts from the sponsors, and be invited to a volunteer party!
6. San Francisco Vegan Food and Beer Festival
Variety is the name of the game at SF Vegan Food and Beer Festival. If a diverse range of culture and variety is what you’re looking for from vegan food festivals, this one will be more than worth your while. The scene is overflowing with delicious vegan vendors and stands, and there’s truly something for everyone. There will be vegan versions of southern foods like mac and cheese, fried chicken, and collard greens. For those who like to keep it simple and classic, there are veggie burgers and nachos (with or without “cheeze”). There are also vegan versions of food categories that usually don’t have vegan versions, such as Filipino lumpia and mungo. And if you’ve never tried “buffalo wings” made of tempeh, we hear this festival has the very best. Dress it up with cashew cream sauce and you might just reach the vegan version of heaven.
We also hear that the free samples from this festival’s friendly vendors are pretty generous, and free vegan food is never a bad thing. Vendors at SF Vegan Food and Beer Festival are also adept at replicating or even beating the taste of many traditional desserts that don’t usually have vegan renditions. So top your multiple dinners off with multiple deserts, and call it a day for the books.
7. California Vegetarian Food Festival
The CA Vegetarian Food Festival is absolute foodie heaven for vegans and vegetarians. Its focus is on eating and living green. Its vendors are some of the most diverse and plentiful at vegan food festivals. They showcase wellness products from green-minded companies, vegetarian restaurants, animal welfare organizations, and much more. Animal welfare organizations at this festival are highly interactive, and they talk openly to families, retailers, consumers, and media members.
This festival takes place in the fall, so the crisp air will be ripe with new harvest! It’s the perfect time and place to celebrate the beauty of nature and the sustenance it offers. This year, the CA Vegetarian Food Festival will feature some powerful media influences in the vegan world. Chefs, athletes, and children’s brands will be speaking with attendees. This festival feels very much like a collective, continuous conversation between everyone in attendance. If you’ve been wondering how you can better the future of your community, this festival has many resources for you. Even better, vendors and speakers will talk to you in depth and help you get involved. It’s amazing how a common cause can unite communities- and elevate consciousness and energy among many different groups. The CA Vegetarian Food Festival does just that, and we’re loving it.
8. San Francisco Brewfest N’ Vegan Eats Invitational
One of these things is not like the others on this list. It’s the SF Brewfest N’ Vegan Eats Invitational, which brings you the best California craft breweries and vegan food in the Bay Area! Not all of the beer selections will be vegan, but there will be unlimited kombucha beer pours and pure kombucha on the menu. Actually, all the beer is unlimited, which we think is reason enough to go. No brewfest would be complete without a game, so there’s also a sports zone where football will be on the big screen.
Admission is cheap, and your ticket goes toward a Bay Area non-profit called Copper’s Dream Animal Rescue. The organization rescues dogs from shelters, pays for their medical expenses, and works to get them adopted. A vegetarian event that benefits animals- what could be better?
What else is not like the others on this list? All food vendors at SF Brewfest will offer full meals and sides for $4 or under. This way, you can get a taste of them all!
9. Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival
The Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival is on a mission: to teach the public all about the uses and health benefits of soy and tofu. Held at San Francisco’s Japantown, this festival is actually an annual fundraiser for the Nichi Bei Foundation. (The Nichi Bei Foundation a nonprofit organization that keeps the Japanese community connected and informed). The Northern California Soy and Tofu festival is also rooted in these goals. It succeeds in connecting not just the Japanese American community but connecting many diverse Bay Area communities in the celebration of Japanese culture and vegan food. It makes for an uncommonly delicious and fulfilling combination. This is both a culinary and cultural event which features soy and tofu vendors, live music, and interactive games- think tofu eating and dessert-baking contests for kids and adults. To top it all off, the proceeds from the Soy and Tofu festival go toward a nonprofit ethnic community paper called Nichi Bei Weekly.
10. Eat Drink Vegan
Eat Drink Vegan is just what it sounds like- a chance to sample an array of delectable foods and specialty brews from curated restaurants and vendors. An impressive selection of more than 250 beverages will be on the menu, including beer, kombucha, cider, wine, tea, and delicious craft sodas. This event is one of the most unique on our list, featuring both a culinary stage for demos and a CBD village and plant-based marketplace that displays clothing, art, skin care, and even more vegan food. Wow!
We hope you enjoyed reading our list of top vegan festivals a quarter of how much you’ll enjoy the food!