Even the Entertainment is Vegan at This New Food Festival Downtown

Vegan Playground takes over Pershing Square this weekend

On Saturday, June 16, Pershing Square is going vegan. The first-ever Vegan Playground is bringing more than 60 vegan vendors from various industries to the park for a 100,000-square-foot summer festival. The event is open to non-vegans, though you won’t find any animal products here. Instead, treat yourself to goodies from Acai Republic, Vagabond Vieira’s Vegan Pizza, the Vegan Tamale Co., Devi’s Donuts & Sweets, La Vegana Mexicana, Fiesta Gourmet Food Truck, Bloomfield Creamery, and more. Relax with a drink in the beer/wine/spirits/kombucha garden.

Even the entertainment is vegan, with music from vegan DJs and live performances by vegan bands Hold Fast and Gold Souls. Several notable vegans will speak at the event, including Playboy model Jayde Nicole, blogger Whitney Lauritsen, and animal communicator Sarah Lea.

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Vegan Playground was created by Diana Colmenar and her partner, Jane David. Two years ago, they started a company called Vegan Hard. Colmenar says, “We wanted to highlight vegan food in the Los Angeles/OC area, show people how accessible vegan food is, and how delicious it is—that vegans don’t just eat salad. We show pictures from various restaurants where we’re eating, but the plan was always to build a community in order to eventually do a festival.”

That dream will finally come to life on Saturday. Colmenar works as a celebrity event planner by day, and she says, “I really wanted to combine that with my real passion which is spreading veganism in a fun and lighthearted way that’s welcoming to non-vegans as well.”

With that in mind, she made the event as fun as possible. The “Playground” part of the festival’s name refers not only to the playground area of the park, but to other activities they’re bringing in for the day, including giant Jenga, giant chess, oversized beach balls, hula hoops, a bean bag toss, and a photo booth. There’s even a temporary roller rink, though you’ll have to bring your own skates.

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The cofounders see Los Angeles as the perfect place to launch a vegan festival. Colmenar says, “The demand here is really high. I think the people here are a bit more forward thinking as far as vegan options and wanting more vegan events in this area.” In the future, she and David hope to take the event to San Francisco and other locations along the Pacific coast and then bring it to other cities.

Vegan Playground is Saturday, June 16, from noon to 10 p.m. in Pershing Square. General admission tickets are $22. VIP tickets ($44) include early entry, a fast pass, and a tote bag of goodies (vegan, of course).

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