Strawberry Square may be named after a fruit, but it surely won’t be left out at this year’s VeggieFest, which showcases plant-based cuisine.
For the third year in a row, event coordinator Sara Bozich, in conjunction with Strawberry Square, will welcome local vendors to downtown Harrisburg next month to share their take on vegetarian and vegan lifestyles and diets.
“It is intended to be a very inclusive event that is vegan- and vegetarian-friendly,” Bozich explained.
While not exclusively a vegan event, vendors will distinguish whether their products are vegetarian or vegan.
Vendors will include restaurants like Arooga’s Sports Bar & Grillhouse, giving a taste of its meatless menu, and Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar with its vegan menu options. There will also be plenty of beverages to sample from breweries such as Crook & Marker Spiked & Sparkling, HOLLA Spirits, Ploughman Cider and Tröegs Independent Brewing.
“We are really about showcasing the offerings our area has,” Bozich said.
Vendors will offer samples, and items will be available for purchase. Bozich pointed out that VeggieFest isn’t only for the herbivores, but those who are “veg curious” are welcome as well.
Plant-based skincare retailers and health practitioners will be in attendance along with treats from Cocoa Creek Chocolates, Boom! Crafted Pickles and Sarah’s Sweet & Savory Snacks, among others.
“A lot of times, people stay away from vegan or gluten-free products because they think the flavor experience won’t be the same, but it is,” said Diane Krulac, founder of Mechanicsburg-based Cocoa Creek Chocolates.
At this year’s VeggieFest, these chocolatiers will hand out samples from their all-natural “Luther’s Trek Bars.” The bars are made with vegan dark chocolate and sprinkled with various fruit and nut combinations.
They will also share products from their upcoming veggie collection, which is all plant-based and vegan. The dark chocolate truffles are made with cashew cream, oat milk or almond milk, and some include raspberry, beet, cinnamon or orange flavors.
“You don’t have to be vegan to want to eat them,” Krulac said. “Flavor won’t be compromised.”
A faux burger challenge, sponsored by the Hilton Harrisburg, will give attendees a chance for local grills to serve up their best meatless burger to a panel of judges, letting the audience have a bite, as well.
While perusing the vendors, attendees will hear from His and Hers Vinyl, a duo of DJs.
Tickets are required for VeggieFest and are $20 for an adult, $10 for an adult or minor not including alcohol, and free for children under 12.
Proceeds this year will benefit the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. According to Bozich, the partnership is a perfect fit.
“Our event is about food, and clearly we want to help feed people in the area,” she said.
Harrisburg VeggieFest takes place on Saturday, Aug. 17, 1 to 4 p.m., at Strawberry Square in downtown Harrisburg. For more information, visit www.hbgveggiefest.com.