World Vegetarian Day
Saturday 29th September 2002
The Vegetarian Society of Ireland organised its 9th annual Celebration of World Vegetarian Day on Sunday, 29th September 2002, and as we cleared the hall at the end of the day, everyone agreed that it had been a great success.
There was a regular flow of visitors to the Fair all day, and a very jolly, relaxed and comfortable atmosphere prevailed. The only complaints came from those people who couldn’t resist the temptation of the displays of the food stalls, and went home feeling like they would burst if they ate another thing!
The range of stalls was really exciting - an array of tasty, freshly made and pre-prepared food and drink was on offer, much of it organic produce, and either home-grown or home-made. The information stands covered a good area of interest - animal sanctuaries, animal welfare and environmental groups came along to show their valuable work. Viva! (Vegetarian International Voice for Animals!) came all the way from Brighton. Five local vegetarian restaurants sold their food throughout the day, filling the hall with such a delicious smell of cooking, that the seating area between these stalls was almost constantly full with happy diners the whole day. The restaurants were: Cornucopia, Fresh, Govinda’s, Juice, and The Cosy Café. There was also a craft stall, Molly’s Books, Dublin Cycling Campaign, 'On The Case' Organic, Vegetarian and Vegan wine Mail Order Company, oils and beads, Fair Trade goods, and a nutritional consultant. Tracy Culleton gave cookery demonstrations in the main hall throughout the day, and these were very popular.
The talks were very well attended, and covered a wide range of topics - from an all-important ‘Eating Your Way to Health’ by Juliet Gellatley of VIVA! through to an interesting session on ‘A Conscience-Free Diet’ by Praghosa of Govinda's Restaurant. Other talks included ‘Fairtrade’ by Peter Gaynor of Fairtrade Mark Ireland, ‘The Future of Farm Animal Welfare’ by Richard Hardy of Compassion in World Farming, ‘Frankenstein Foods: Factory Farming & Genetics - the Global Threat’ by Tony Wardle of VIVA!, and ‘Making the World go Veggie’ by Juliet Gellatley. A video of ‘Vegetarian Ready, Steady, Cook’ showed instead of ‘The Witness’, which was unfortunately unavailable on the day.
At 4.30pm, the prize draw took place for the raffle, and you can be sure we had everyone’s attention! The list of prizes was impressive, and first out of the drum came the tickets of three separate winners of weekends away for two in Cussens Cottage, Bulgaden, Co. Limerick, Green Lodge near Bantry, and The Phoenix in Co. Kerry. After that there were packs of vegan beer from Dublin Brewing Company, Organic vegan wine from On the Case, and 13 individual prizes of really great vegetarian cookery books donated by Easons. There were more prizes donated by stallholders, and plenty of people went away happy from the raffle.
The main bulk of the work in organising the event was accomplished by the VSI committee members, but it would not have gone ahead without the hard work of people outside the committee, particularly Graham Caswell who covered publicity, and Amanda Sanders-Perkins who organised the raffle prizes. A very big thank you must go to all the volunteers who helped throughout the day, manning the raffle stand, working on the door, and assisting in setting up early in the morning and clearing up at the end of the day. Again, we just couldn’t have done this without you. Our thanks also go to the speakers, the stall holders, and the staff of the St. Andrew's Resource Centre, as well as the Dublin Food Coop, in particular Tim, Greg and Pauric. We would have been very stuck without you all!
The event could not have taken place without the kind contributions from the following companies: Down to Earth Healthfood Store, Full Life Healthfood Store, The General Health Food Store, Klee Paper, Munster Wholefoods, The Health Store, and Wholefoods.
Putting all of this together along with a visitor number of approximately one thousand, it can be agreed that there was a busy, vibrant and successful atmosphere on the day. We can only hope that the 10th World vegetarian Day Fair will be just as good next autumn!