Saturday’s Veg Night Out in Fort Lauderdale a vegan food fest

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When you stop and think, it makes perfect sense. Veg Night Out is a nighttime vegan market with plant-based food trucks and stations as well as artisan vendors and DJs spinning all night.

“A lot of vegan vendors go to [farmers’] markets during the day,” explains Melissa Guzman, one of the organizers.

So she and Sean Russell, the founder of SoFlo Vegans, decided they could draw a wider variety of savory food, sweet desserts and handcrafted merchandise with no animal products in them by making this an evening event. Even better, it’s free admission.

“We have had the good fortune of being involved with 200-plus events since we launched [SoFlo Vegans] in 2017,” Russell says. “I wanted to make sure [this] was something that has not been done before. To my knowledge this is the first time there is all-vegan night market.”

Veg Night Out will take place Saturday, July 17 from 6-10 p.m. in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s MASS District — which stands for Music and Arts South of Sunrise — that is on the edge of the buzzy-vibey Flagler Village neighborhood. If you need a street address for a share ride or a navigation app, use the address 817 NE Fourth Ave. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304. For more information, go to SoFloVegans.com/veg-night-out.

“We’re not trying to force veganism on anyone,” says Guzman, who owns the Caribe Vegan food truck. “It’s just like this fun event … try something new, make new friends. It’s people friendly. It’s dog friendly.”

She also says that it was important to both her and Russell that Veg Night Out have a different feel than many of the other vegetarian/vegan markets that they’ve seen in South Florida.

“They’re like ‘Go vegan or die.’ They’re very serious and they have panels and discussions with doctors. And me, as a vendor ... I’m falling asleep. And people are so much more relaxed at night.”

Toward that end, they say you can expect a lot of food stations and food trucks offering more approachable “vegan comfort food” such as pizzas, empanadas, sandwiches, fritters and even Tex Mex. “There’s such a variety now, from around the globe,” Guzman says.

Russell adds that there is another way to go, too.

“Because the restaurants in the MASS District are the surrounding businesses, if people didn’t want to eat anything vegan, they have those options as well — they will be in walking distance.”

In addition to the vendors, there will be giveaways, prize wheel and raffles.

“It’s definitely a celebration for the vegan community, for the community in general,” says Russell. “People are looking to get out now and make up for lost time. Maybe explore food options they are starting to tap into. Maybe they are starting to do something like drink more oat milk and now they’re curious to see what else is out there.”

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