Veggie Guy: Texas State Fair

For vegans, the State Fair of Texas can be a hellish experience. All those not-even-close-to-vegan fried concoctions, waddling crowds and poor, enslaved farm animals make us want to punch people in the tundra they carry 'round their waistbands...and we're not typically violent sorts.

Despite all those sad pigs in bins, my vegan buddy Jamey and I had a good time at the fair, because for once, the vegan community was represented by celebrity raw vegan chef Miranda Martinez at the fair's first-ever vegan food demo.

Jamey and I met at Mockingbird Station on Sunday for beers at Trinity Hall, then jumped on the Green Line to visit Big Tex. We walked into the State Fair of Texas to find hoards of noisy children, seasoned fair goers, and members of just about every sub-culture in Dallas. We even overheard some guy saying, "Get a pi'ture o' me 'n Big Tex. I'm lookin' good t'day!" What a douchebag.

With the absence of any vegan fair food, our only mission was to find more beer. Bud Light and Coors, however, were not what we were after. No, no. We hit the Hans Mueller tent for high-hop brews, then mingled around the grounds to see what Big Tex had in store for us this year.

We passed by rows of booths serving egg-laden fried foods, butter-laced corn-on-the-cob, and a plethora of non-vegan, tooth-decaying sweets. So we grabbed more beer and headed to the exhibits.

Our first stop was at Borden, where dancers tapped their feet onstage to the sounds of old country. I felt bad for that one girl in the middle. She looked pissed that her mother made her tap dance for a room full of strangers. Jamey and I chuckled a bit, then went backstage to visit Elsie.

Poor thing--all crammed-up in a small space right next to a calf named Beauregard (who will probably become taco meat next week). Too unbearable to watch...

So we made our way to the "educational" part of the exhibit. Propaganda about dairy farming, the health benefits of dairy and its bi-products, and common misconceptions about the dairy industry were on display. The board stated, "Cow comfort is very important to dairy farmers." Riiiight...then explain the tears running down Beauregard's face. Our next stop was at the pig shack, where dozens of pigs were incarcerated in cages. Some kid in there was banging a stick on the cages, but he stopped after I shot him an evil look. Still, it was shocking to see the fair employees doing nothing about it.

Time for the raw vegan food demo was nearing, so we walked over to play nice with our raw food friends. On our way there, Jamey said, "Hey, that chick's kinda hot."

"I guess," I replied dismissively. But then I noticed she was getting ready to do a video segment near the pig bins, so I went up to her and asked, "Are you doing a story about animal cruelty at the fair?"

"Yes...I am," she snarked as she rolled her eyes. She seemed so upset, I couldn't help but think she was planning to do a grand exposé on channel 33. So I pulled out a Vegan Outreach pamphlet from my messenger bag that might help with her story.

"Here you go!" I said with a sweet smile on my face. But she gave me the stink eye and said, ""

"Hmm--she must already have all the information she needs for her story," I said to Jamey.

Jamey and I booked it over to watch Miranda Martinez of Bliss Raw Café in action. The show was jam-packed, and we saw so many familiar faces in the crowd (mostly Twitter friends). Miranda prepared a raw pineapple cobbler, made with pecans, Medjool dates, vanilla bean, fresh pineapple, agave nectar, and coconut butter (a rich blend of coconut oil and young coconut meat). The audience loved her energetic stage presence, and we all got a sample of her cobbler.

We said our goodbyes to Miranda, the guys from Bliss, and left the fair. After some vegan eats and a couple more beers at the Meridian Room and Amsterdam, we got back on the Green Line and headed home. As soon I got to my computer, I watched Kathleen Berger's segment on 33.

No mention of animal enslavement at the fair. The story was mostly about the new Green Line. I called Jamey.

"Dude, that news chick totally lied to us!"

"Yeah, maybe that's why she was so rude to you, man," suggested Jamey. Oh, well. Shot down. But it wasn't all bad. I should add a nugget about that sweet lady at Hans Mueller.

So sweet lady at Hans Mueller, thanks for the beer!