Far from your average gymnasium veg fest, the annual Veggie Pride Parade in NYC is a legendary gathering of vegan advocates, animal activists, environmentalists, costumed revelers, outspoken intellectuals and people of every persuasion, all coming together to speak with one voice.
The 2015 edition of the parade kicks off in Manhattan this Sunday, and organizers predict it’ll be bigger than ever. With 35 exhibitors, 22 speakers, music and more, it’s a collective celebration of all things vegan.
“There’s going to be a lot of participation this year,” says Pamela Rice, coordinator of the parade. “I would say at least 3,000 people will come and go through the day, and the parade will probably have 800 people at the minimum.”
Participants are encouraged to dress up, and many come in costume as vegetables or animals, some carrying signboards with catchy slogans.
Above and beyond veg food, however, this event is about freedom of speech and expression.
“This is a non-profit, non-commercial First Amendment event. I have to explain that to all too many people—this is not a food fair, this is a First Amendment event,” says Rice of the gathering.
“The First Amendment of the Constitution allows individuals, citizens of the United States of America, to get up and state their beliefs, their thoughts, their heartfelt opinions and that is what this event is about. It’s an intellectual pursuit in some ways. There is free food and there is a lot of fun stuff as well, there’s music. Everything is free because we are in a public park.”
The parade starts at noon (sharp!) in the Old Meatpacking District, then heads to the north end of Union Square Park for the public festival. There’ll be food, pro-veg videos, a Soapbox Testimonial Station and more. The list of 35 exhibitors includes the likes of the American Vegan Society, F.A.R.M. (Farm Animals Rights Movement), Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, V Spot Empanadas and more.
Oh, and if you’ve got an Instagram-worthy cow costume, don’t forget the 2 p.m. contest kickoff.
The parade starts at 12 noon in the Old Meat Packing District, where 9th Ave. & Gansevoort St. intersect. It will finish up with a festival at the north end of Union Square Park. Admission is free. Check out the website for additional details.