#TBT | Moderating the “Ask a Vegan” Panel at St. John’s VegFest

Ryan Patey at St. John's VegFest

I know it hasn’t been that long since the St. John’s VegFest, and I already referenced one moment from there in a recent Throwback Thursday, but I don’t recall hearing any rules about how far back a TBT has to go, so I’m using this one!

Along with having a great time tabling during the day of the festival, I was also asked to moderate the “Ask a Vegan” panel at the end of the event. As my first time moderating a panel (I had been a part of numerous ones before, but solely as a panelist), I was a little nervous about it all.

One of the concerns I had when I first walked into the venue to set-up around 8am was the fact that the speakers were in a separate space from the tables. Obviously, this had its benefits in terms of providing a quieter place for the talks, but I was concerned that people would just stay around the food and the cute animals. If you haven’t been a part of hosting an event before, I can tell you that taking part in something that no one attends is a rather disappointing experience.

Needless to say, my concerns soon proved to be unnecessary as the first speaker was setting-up and it became obvious that people were moving into the room. Although I spent the day selling books and aprons, which I almost sold out of, I could see the room where people were speaking and it seemed to be well attended for each one.

Of course, that meant that my next concern became about what it would be like if a lot of people showed up for the panel, and I wasn’t prepared. The human brain is fun that way, right?

Luckily, when the time came, the crowd didn’t prove too overwhelming. Along with that, my panelists were great and it seemed like everyone had fun. There were some good questions, but most of all it became evident that people were happy to finally have a chance to meet in the real world. Folks spoke a lot about the feeling of isolation thanks to being veg in their community, and it was nice to see that they knew they were no longer alone in a way.

To go back another bit in time, it actually reminded me a lot of the first Vida Vegan Con. So many bloggers came together in Portland, Oregon, and for most of us it was the first time we were able to meet in person. Making those connections is important, and knowing that I played a part in it happening back in my home province is a great feeling.

Here’s to next year being even better!

Photo Credit: Devon Crosby | The Experiment

P.S. If you’re interested, there’s a small bit in the Where Am I Wednesday episode below that covers the festival and the panel. Of course, there’s also plenty of other great parts from my time in Newfoundland, so feel free to watch the whole thing!

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