Vegan fair to return this weekend as organiser urges all residents to attend
FOOD-lovers in Southend are being urged to get out and support the city's annual vegan fair this weekend amid hopes it will provide a much-needed boost to struggling traders.
The Southend Vegan Fair will be taking place this Sunday at the Ekco Club, in Thornford Gardens.
It will be the second time the fair has taken place since the pandemic, with bosses warning it will be scaled back due to the devestating impact Covid has had on business.
But organiser Dean Ward, 40, has issued a rallying cry to the people of Southend and urged them to come along to show their support.
Together - Organiser Dean Ward with his dog at the Vegan Fair
Mr Ward said: "I am excited but still a bit nervy if I am honest.
"The number of traders per event has halved from pre-covid to post-covid, with businesses folding, which is a real shame.
"It is about building back up now and picking it up again.
"I have always liked the fact the fairs are very inclusive, and not only provide a hub for vegans to purchase goods, but for businesses to interact while gaining support.
"These events are really good for the community, and aren't just for vegans, we wanted other that aren't vegan, or not even interested in being vegan to come along to one of our events and just see what it is all about."
As well as stalls for vegan food, there will also be an animal rights stalls, a kids play area, as well as music to create a great atmosphere and day out for all visitors.
Jim Anderson, owner of the Leigh OakTree Vegan restaurant, which is the biggest vegan restaurant in Essex, said how important these events are, especially with veganism on the rise.
He said: "It is absolutely fantastic to see the vegan fair growing from strength to strength.
"Dean and his team work tirelessly hard to make these events happen, and it is great to see how popular they are.
"As veganism gets more and more mainstream, we can only hope to see more people converting to the wonders of plant-based cooking, and a vegan lifestyle."