Is it easy to get there?
At least for 2018, the Cruelty Free Festival was held at a venue called well… The Venue. The address of which was 55 Doody Street, Alexandria. Parking was simple to find and plentiful. There was even a free parking lot across the road at a shopping centre for those who wanted to perhaps just not pay the parking cost of the on-site facilities.
If going by public transport, all you need to do is get yourself to Central Station and hop on a train to Green Square Station (approx. 3 minutes). Then, The Venue is about a further 17 minutes walk. This location is admittedly not the most public-transport friendly, if compared to the Moore Park venue used by Sydney Vegan Market. If you can drive, it’s probably the better option here.
Should you go in bad weather?
This location is completely indoors! So we’d recommend it in any weather. Unless you get there by taking the trains and walking, in which case you’ll need an umbrella on rainy days.
Are the facilities good?
The event was well organised and sign-posted. There were helpful volunteers directing people all the way into the venue, making it very easy to find. The building was decently big, though we could easily see them outgrowing it in a year or two, if that. Admittedly, our little group had no idea there was a separate section with tables and chairs for eating until we noticed it on the way out to leave, but that could have just been us.
An outdoor venue would certainly be nicer if the weather was right, though we’re not sure if this would ever be suitable as they really need to be indoors to facilitate the numerous film screenings that they put on over the course of the day.
Do you need to take cash or do all the places take card?
This time, we completely forgot to take any cash. This was not a problem whatsoever however, as everywhere we went accepted digital payments. There are however a lot of non-profit organisations in attendance, and it would have been nice to have a little cash on hand to donate to them on the spot.
How busy is it?
We arrived around 10am and it was decently busy but not to the point where it meant you had to queue for anything. At worst, you’d need to wait behind 2-4 people for most of the food stalls at almost any time of the day. Things moved well however the row width in the food stall area was a bit narrow and became tricky to get through during the lunch rush.
Are there free samples available?
Plenty! Most food and product stalls offered samples for you to test out their products.
Is there a good variety of foods and products for sale?
There are not as many stalls here as there are at Sydney Vegan Market. At a guess, it would be around half. However, there were still many food options to choose from. One of the most defining differences between the Cruelty Free Festival and Sydney Vegan Market is the number of non-profits in attendance. There were many more non-profits attending the Cruelty Free Festival who you could meet and talk with about the issues they represented. It provides a great opportunity to gain insight and learn something new, as well as meet the faces behind the scenes and find pathways to get more involved.
A cool moment for us was also to finally see our BAE, Flora & Fauna, in the flesh!
Are there any animals there?
We were delighted to discover that the answer to this question was yes! The undoubted stars of the day were the smiley, sleepy troupe from Greyhound Rescue. They could not have been a more chilled out bunch of self-described couch potatoes, accepting ALL THE PATS and enjoying a nap rotation system that we’re thinking of adapting into our own daily routine. Pictured here is Elton, wearing his most fabulous collar bow!
Overall, would we recommend it?
Definitely! This event is just as worth a visit as Sydney Vegan Market. While the market is a day of fun and gorging on cake (for us at least), the Cruelty Free Festival is still that, but with a good strong dash of education and awareness-raising in there too for a variety of incredibly important causes.
It also provides a great opportunity to directly meet and provide support to the people who commit their lives to help the voiceless. Notably, they also have quite well-known guest speakers throughout the day.
As a closing tidbit, this is our little haul of goodies that we picked up from the festival. Though several items didn’t quite make it into the photo due to what can only be described as uncontrollable consumption.