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As Twin Cities Veg Fest grows, so do our costs. This year we’re expanding into more of the Coffman building, and we’ll be renting equpiment to make lines for crowd control at the most popular tables. In order to keep the festival free and open to everyone, we’ve launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the event.
Our goal is to raise $3,500 in funding by Monday, August 24. Can you help out by funding this campaign today?
We’re looking forward to making this year’s festival the best we’ve ever put on, and we need your help to do!
This year’s festival will take place on Sunday, November 1, from 10am to 4pm at Coffman Memorial Union on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus. Mark your calendar! Tell your friends! Shout it from the rooftops and get your soapboxes out!
As we mentioned previously in our last blog post, Venue Quest 2014, finding a venue for Twin Cities Veg Fest 2015 has been a challenge. The size of the festival has nearly doubled since our debut in 2012, from 1,200 attendees the first year to 2,300 last year. While Coffman isn’t a new venue, we’re going to make it new by adding even more rooms to the festival.
We’ll be moving the speakers to the President’s Room, where we had cooking demos, and moving the cooking demos to the Coffman Theater. All of last year’s cooking demos were standing room only, so by moving the demos to the four hundred seat theater we’ll make sure that everyone has a seat.
All of these moves free up the Mississippi Room on the 3rd floor to hold more exhibitors. Our plan right now is to make this our food court. This will free up space in the main exhibitor hall, let us set up queuing stanchions for the food vendors, and also give us a place to have seating for people while they eat. The additional space in the exhibitor hall will let us space out the most popular exhibitors (the ones offering food samples), and we can also put queuing stanchions in front of those booths. All of this will help reduce crowding and make for a more orderly, pleasant experience for attendees.
We are also discussing ways to incentivize attendees to show up throughout the day, rather than creating a big bottleneck in the morning. One idea we’re tossing around is to distribute goodie bags in batches on the top of each hour, rather than all of them first thing in the morning. This should encourage people to come throughout the day and further reduce crowding.
We hope you’re excited about the festival as we are. Please check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram. And of course, tell your friends and family. We’ll be recruiting sponsors, exhibitors, and volunteers soon, so stay tuned to this blog and our social media outlets!
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!
We’ll have more details soon!