Vegan expo attracts healthy crowd to Monroeville Convention Center

ByLois C

Jul 21, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Empty parking places have been hard to find outside the house Monroeville Conference Center’s North Hall on the afternoon of July 16, demonstrating that what Amy Cotrill commenced in the 1990s has occur a extensive way.

The event was the Authentic Pittsburgh Vegan Expo and Festival, a multicultural showcase for plant-dependent foodstuff and other merchandise, moreover plenty of entertainment.

“We commenced it pretty tiny, when it wasn’t really popular still,” Cottrill mentioned about the strategy of staying away from meat and dairy. “I’ve constructed it up in excess of quite a few many years and retained undertaking smaller events right up until eventually, they bought more substantial and greater.”

The 2022 event took position at the largest location nevertheless, with about 100 suppliers within the hall and quite a few food items trucks in the lot.

Cottrill, who lives in Mt. Lebanon, adjusted her feeding on practices at an early age.

“I had a around-death experience, and I was only 5. So I realized daily life vs . demise, and I understood the sensation of not wanting to die,” she said. “I related that to animals, and I realized that animals did not want to die.”

The outcome was that for rather some time, she was the only vegetarian she knew.

“As I received into higher school, I at last fulfilled my very first vegan mates. They had been more mature than me. They weren’t even in superior college. But they have been my mentors,” Cottrill stated. “And I received genuinely fired up to start out sharing extra with men and women.”

She was living in Pittsburgh’s Carrick community when she organized her to start with event, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars article in close by Mt. Oliver.

“Everybody explained, why would you have it there? And I said, simply because they want it. If you go to the more fashionable elements of the town, they previously are starting off to know what this,” she reported. “So I wished to carry some thing open-minded to this spot. I required to introduce them to foodstuff and audio and dance from other cultures.”

In simple fact, she named it the Multiculture Fest.

“And it was all vegan, but I didn’t set the phrase ‘vegan’ in the title since folks would not even know what it intended,” Cottrill claimed. “Over the years, I moved to various venues, less than different names. I started out coming up with distinct sorts of functions and merged them all to make one big party.”

Just one illustration was a Remodel Gala, for which artists built costumes for dancers from recycled materials. And the cuisine offered was vegan, of class.

The multicultural component of the First Pittsburgh Vegan Expo and Pageant stems from the relative deficiency of plant-dependent solutions available when Cottrill was more youthful.

“The cultural meals was in which to uncover it. For illustration, Indian foods and Thai meals, they all had vegan alternatives. Again then, people have been the go-tos for this type of festival,” she claimed. “And then in excess of the decades, I have noticed it mature into each individual version of every thing. Just about anything that is normally not vegan, we can have a edition of it in this article that is vegan.”

This year’s party captivated very a several men and women who consume plant-dependent mainly because they have ethical beliefs very similar to hers.

“I’ve constantly loved animals, so that was my main worry,” Castle Shannon resident Valerie Garman explained. “And I avoided studying additional about it, for the reason that I knew that I was not likely to like what I observed. Then I last but not least did a deep dive, and I watched some films. And that was essentially the stop of it.”

She attended with her close friend Amy Andrews of Dormont, whom she introduced to vegan delicacies. They share an affinity for animals, and Garman attempted to share documentaries about food items manufacturing to Andrews.

“But I was like, I just can’t view it. I really don’t want to know. I’m fascinated, but I just cannot observe it. Then I developed a ton of health problems. And so I experienced to give up dairy and gluten. So that just produced feeling,” Andrews explained about plant-based taking in.

Along with the annual vegan expo and pageant, Cottrill organizes quite a few functions, like monthly haflas — which is Arabic for “parties” — in Washington County. Stomach dancing is the main attraction, and Cottrill, an instructor and performer who goes by Amethyst, sales opportunities mini-classes whilst encouraging everyday performances and an open up dance flooring.

The subsequent hafla, with vegan food for order, is scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m. July 30 at J&D Cellars At The Street At The Meadows, 100 Adios Generate, North Strabane.

Nearer to the place Cottrill life, she has scheduled a Vegan Summer months Occasion from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 14 at Sound Instinct Wellness Centre, 3857 Willow Ave,, Castle Shannon. Food items from Jolina’s Mediterranean Cuisine of Brookline will be featured.

For more details about functions, go to


Attempt peanut butter cookie bars, vegan design and style

Harry Funk is a Tribune-Assessment news editor. You can get hold of Harry at [email protected].

By Lois C