I had planned to attend this year’s VegFest in Richmond. What I didn’t plan for was to be asked to speak at the event! But speak, I did. I was really honored when the event organizers reached out to me!
This happened sometime in June. They actually contacted me through Sports Backers, which is the organization I coach with, and my friend Mara just happened to be the one to open the email looking for Anne the Vegan! She got us connected!
They say you should talk about what you know, so I decided to tell my story about how I became a vegan, entitling my talk, “My Vegan Evolution.” I shared lots of thoughts I have already pondered on my blog.
I was so nervous about speaking in public in that large of a forum, but the organizers really put me at ease, and I somehow made it through! The first thing I noticed when I saw the main stage was that there was no lectern. I had notes typed on paper, and I really needed that! Luckily, there was a cocktail table nearby, and that worked really well. And the sound manager setup a mic for me. Crisis averted!
I asked to speak in the first slot, and I was introduced by local meteorologist and VPM host Mike Goldberg! We actually have a mutual friend, so it was nice to make that connection!
During my talk, I was surprised to look into the audience and see several friends! I had a few running friends and a couple more who I met through social media. That was amazing! And even people I didn’t know seemed to nod their head in agreement with some statements and even laughed at my jokes!
After the talk, I stayed for the festival, obviously! I was able to greet my friends and thank them for coming! And then it was time to eat all the food and buy some merchandise. You know, the things you go to a festival for! The VegFest gifted me a shirt and poster from the event, and I bought another vegan themed shirt and a few buttons.
As far as food goes, I was able to indulge a bit. I got bagel fries from Southern Spuds, which were French fries with vegan cheese and sour cream with everything but the bagel seasoning and green onions. So good! After all, I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like. I visited the Vegan Sweet Tooth and got an oatmeal cream pie to take home. It was so big, it took me 2 days to finish it! And I ordered a sampler plate from Govinda, which was really tasty Indian food. I also couldn’t leave the festival without getting a serving of Blue Ridge boucha! I met lots of new people just eating at one of many community tables. Always fun!
But by mid afternoon, I was ready to go home. This introvert was peopled out, but in the best way. I also learned that speaking in public isn’t so scary. I tried to remember the lessons I learned as a theater student in high school, just trying to pace my words and to pause to breathe. I would absolutely do this again! Many thanks to the Richmond VegFest for giving me a platform to share my story.
Have you ever done any public speaking? Do you have any tips to make it easier?
Do you have a vegetarian/vegan festival where you live? I’d love to hear about it!
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.