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Chicago's VeganMania celebrates all things vegan on Oct. 10

Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at

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Image courtesy of EarthSave Chicago

Vegans, vegan food lovers and environmentalists will unite on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., for EarthSave Chicago's VeganMania event.


The event will be in the four largest rooms of the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, located at 1419 W. Blackhawk. Chicago VeganMania will have a vegan fashion show, an art show, children's crafts, live bands and dancers, deejays and numerous speakers, including Caryn Hartglass (EarthSave International); Nathan Runkle (Mercy for Animals); Dr. Will Tuttle (author of "The World Peace Diet"); Mr. Michael Greger (Humane Society of the United States) and a workshop with Rae Sikora and JC Corcoran (Plant Peace Daily).


There will be pre-teen alternative rock, cabaret-style belly dancing, acoustic folk music, electronica, high energy dance and funk rock from performers Circular Convention, Deserae, Bryan Harrell, dreamlogicc, SPUNN, Darmata, DJ veganinblack, Peter Propaganda and Scarylady Sarah.


And best of all will be the vegan food, in addition to the 40 vendors.

Ten restaurants will be serving taste test and full portions of food from restaurants like The Chicago Diner, Cousin's Incredible Vitality, Delicious Café, The Great Taste Café (formerly The Balanced Kitchen), Soul Vegetarian, Veggie Bite and more. Food companies will include Cacao chocolates, Match Meats, Raw Creations, Ste Martaen cheeses, Vega/Sequel Naturals and Upton's Naturals.


The first 100 people (16 years of age and older) will win free cruelty-free gift bags full of vegan items, and all guests will receive five coupons for taster's portions of any of the food items. Chicago VeganMania encourages vegans, vegetarians and omnivores to attend.


"We want to just show off the vegan community," said John Beske, the chair of EarthSave, to's blogger Message from Montie. "We're trying to show that we're not just a bunch of angry people trying to get everyone to change their ways. We're a pretty lively, fun bunch of people. You don't have to be a vegetarian or lean that way, it's really for everyone."


EarthSave has had events encouraging healthy eating from 2000 to 2007. Originally their events were called "Conference for Conscious Living." Two hundred to 300 people would show up for a one-day conference and catered food with seven to eight vendors. Because of the interest in the food testing, the vendors quickly escalated to approximately 30.


"People would skip the speakers and just stay out and shop," Beske said. "My wife came up with the idea for Chicago VeganMania and Conference for Conscious Living. We wanted to do something that would be unintimidating and fun."


Beske, his wife Marla Rose and 10 other people have been working to create these events with the company EarthSave Chicago, a chapter of EarthSave International. So how does a company called EarthSave relate to vegan items?


"Interestingly enough, EarthSave had been founded almost 20 years ago in response to a book called "Diet for a New America'," Beske, who has been a vegan since 1995, explained. "It was written by a fella named John Robbins, who is the son of the Baskin Robbins people...and he'd written a great big book that told about all the environmental devastation that's caused by the animal industry. This is not the sort of image that we're trying to project with Chicago VeganMania because we want it to be all positive and upbeat, but animal agriculture is really one of the most devastating industries in the world."


The Humane Society of the United States reported that in 2006, the animal agriculture sector was responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions--"9 percent of annual human-induced CO2 emissions, 37 percent of methane (CH4) emissions, which has more than 20 times the global warming potential of CO2, and 65 percent of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, which has almost 300 times CO2's global warming potential."


So for those who are more interested in the environment than vegan and vegetarian cuisine, this may be of interest to them too. The entertainment and speaking events are free, but tickets are $0.50 each. Each restaurant will set up their own ticket pricing, but all restaurants are encouraged to have taster's portions.


If you are interested in volunteering for this event, email For more information on the event, visit ChicagoVeganMania's BlogSpot page or



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