The City of Newburgh hosted the first Hudson Valley Vegan Food Festival Aug. 14. In the midst of the heat wave that overtook much of the northeast this weekend, people made it out to sample vegan offerings by vendors from the Hudson Valley and beyond.
The football field of the Delano-Hitch Recreation Park was host to a few dozen vendors selling smoothies, plant-based hot dogs,vegan Indian food, and other vegan food options, while also showcasing crafts and clothing that fit the vegan theme, and vegan-friendly organizations in the Hudson Valley.
The event’s organizers are two young, local entrepreneurs. Both Newburgh natives, Kyla El and Sam Simmons are 23 and 30 respectively. They originally had the idea of gathering friends together for a vegan barbecue with two vendors. The idea gained popularity and soon grew into a food festival open to the public. And when local vegan restaurant Nimai’s Bliss Kitchen agreed to be the main food sponsor, the event was suddenly much larger. Nimai’s Bliss Kitchen is a 2-year-old Newburgh-based vegan Indian restaurant on Robinson Ave. It was easily the largest, and one of the busiest, food stands at the event. The owners of the restaurant encouraged Simmons and El to promote the event as the Hudson Valley Vegan Food Festival.
“It went from backyard barbecue to literally Hudson Valley Vegan Food Festival,” said El.