You may have noticed the conspicuous absence of a date or venue on this website. We notice it too!
The festival has grown quite a bit since its premiere in 2012, which attracted 1,200 people. Last year, we had about 2,300 attendees, and we expect even more for the next one, which is slated for the fall of 2015. With that in mind, we’ve been looking high and low for a new venue that can accommodate the increased attendance.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of suitable indoor venues in the Twin Cities area have an exclusive contract with a single caterer. That means that only that caterer can sell food for on-site consumption. (Both the Minneapolis Convention Center and the Saint Paul RiverCentre have this restriction.) Given that one of the highlights of Twin Cities Veg Fest is letting people purchase a variety of delicious vegan food, this has made finding a new home for the festival a challenge.
The upshot of all this is that we may end up back at Coffman for one more year. If we do, we have ideas for how we can make it less crowded. We’ll use the speakers’ room on the third floor for food vendors, turning it into a food court, and we’ll move speakers or cooking demos into the theater, a space we haven’t used for the festival before. Moving the food vendors will free up a lot of space in the main exhibitor room, where we will have queuing stanchions that will make for more organized wait lines.
If we can’t find a new space, we can at least make the old space more user-friendly and accommodating to large crowds so that our guests can be assured a good time.
For 2016, we’ve decided to bite the bullet and move the event to an outdoor location. This gives us many more options and will likely attract even more people, as long as the weather cooperates. We’ll start crossing our fingers now just to be sure!