Tuesday, October 20, 2009

WFAS Thanksliving Banquet

This weekend I excitedly attended the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary Thanksliving Banquet; it surpassed any and all expectations I possibly could have had, and did so with an extraordinary event that seamlessly combined an unflinching respect for animals with seemingly limitless, delicious food.

The weather was on our side. Despite forecasts of snow, the sun shone into the windows of the ginormous, heated tent that housed the veritable ton of people that had come out to support the sanctuary at a time of year when most Americans are equating giving thanks with turkey genocide.

As did most attendees, we arrived early in order to visit with the sanctuary’s population of rescued farm animals until it was time for the banquet to begin. At that time, the gate that normally serves as the entrance to the goat pasture was flung open in hearty welcome and we all hurriedly entered the seasonally decorated tent, awestruck by the sights: from the beautifully set tables to the impressive and plentiful offerings on the auction and raffle tables, the tent had been converted into a cruelty-free, fall wonderland. The live band, Ida, enhanced the atmosphere.

Almost immediately the appetizers started flowing. Just when you thought they couldn’t be more selfless, those hardworking sanctuary volunteers transformed into waitstaff and began buzzing through the crowds, deftly offering up endless platters of assorted goodies. Our favorites were inevitably the black-eyed pea cakes from Blossom, and the Dr. Cow cheese spread onto fresh Bread Alone ciabatta and garnished with capers.

The generous assortment of appetizers continued their circulation as everyone placed silent bids on the auction items and chose which prizes they wanted to win with their raffle tickets. We had our fingers crossed for the Sweet & Sara assortment, the Vegan Essentials gift certificate, or the wine basket, but alas- we are not the type who are lucky in such raffles. No need, the event was spectacular on its own.

Onto dinner: the table was set with sparkling water and a heaping basket of assorted breads from Bread Alone and those delicious Karma Road Café sweet potato biscuits. We each enjoyed a glass of wine as the dinner was presented: assorted recipes from area restaurants that are not necessarily vegan or vegetarian. As we indulged, the speakers (Dan Piraro, Nathan Runkle, Jenny Brown, etc.) entertained and enlightened the crowd with stories, information, and even videos. Finally, what better way to end a delightful meal than with a choice of incomparable Vegan Treats cakes? Danielle Konya, the recognizable bakery queen herself, was in attendance, but may have been outshined in this animal loving crowd by her furry tablemate: the Discerning Brute's adorable dog, Enzo.

Because the weather was so nice, farm tours were given after the main event was over. With quite the drive ahead of us, we chose to wander around ourselves before picking up our goodie bags and hitting the road. Unfortunately, we find ourselves too full- days later- to even think of indulging in any of the delicious snacks that it contained; only the non-edible items have been enjoyed thus far. A great ending to an incredible day that was made possible by many generous, animal-hearted people.

If you’ve never been to the sanctuary, I implore you to go: enjoy and support it as frequently as possible. If you don’t live in the area you might be surprised that there are sanctuaries all over the country; do some searching and find one (or a few) that you can support. These special events are extraordinary, but sanctuaries need our help all year long.

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