Prague, and the Czech Republic in general, are certainly not known for being a hotbed of vegetarianism. However, many would be (and are) surprised to discover the growing wealth of vegetarian and even vegan-friendly restaurants and businesses here. The annual Veggie Parade has become one of the hallmarks of the vegetarian lifestyle, but it’s about more than just dietary choice, it also encompasses the fight for animal rights.
The 2014 parade marks the sixth year of the event, which will kick off at 14:00 on 21 June from Wenceslas Square and travel to Na Příkopě – Havířská – Železná – Staroměstské náměstí – Celetná – náměstí Republiky – Revoluční – Štefánikův most – nábřeží Kapitána Jaroše – Dukelských hrdinů – Tiskárna na Vzduchu, and ending in Stromovka.
About the Parade
The official poster of Prague Veggie Parade 2014, source: veggie-parade.cz
Event organizers describe it as “an annual street party; a celebration of veganism and vegetarianism in the streets of Prague.” I couldn’t agree more. My first experience with the Parade was back in 2012. I had no idea what was going on, I was just going about my business when a throng of smiling, dancing people passed by and suddenly stopped in a frozen pose for at least a minute. Both I and my dogs were intrigued.
I also saw booths showing videos of the cruelty at animal factories, received a pamphlet, and then thanks to some signs finally realized this was a celebration of the veggie lifestyle, along with education about the source of most commercially available meat. As one who is already aware of the cruel and often disgusting conditions of factory farming, it’s still hard for me to me watch some of those videos. I can only imagine it’s much easier for diehard meat eaters to turn a blind eye to and just continue ignoring the facts. No one wants to actively think of the life their steak may have led before it hit their plate. But let’s get back to the parade.
In addition to the parade, there will be a number of programs discussing animal rights and how to make the switch to a vegetarian/vegan diet. Anyone who’s been curious about whether food could possibly taste good without the seemingly required Czech staple of pig fat will want to try some of the delicacies to be offered by Secret of Raw; soft serve vegan ice-cream, sandwiches and wraps from Veganz; and cheesecakes from IriePatties, as well as other local veg-friendly restaurants and vendors.
The Vegetarian Athlete
Athletes can learn just how they can maintain and even improve their performance with a lecture on athletics and a plant-based diet. Learn the truth about the power of veg proteins and dispel myths surrounding eating veg. You may not realize it, but a number of popular and successful world athletes thrive (or did during their careers) on a vegetarian diet, including Olympic track star Carl Lewis, Basketball player John Salley, NFL footballer Tony Gonzalez, and of course the Czech Republic’s own tennis great, Martina Navratilova among many others, including body builders and extreme sport athletes. Just like with a standard diet, knowing how and what to eat provides all the nutrients a high-performance body needs.
With nearly 1,000 people signed up to attend and participate, you can expect to see some great costumes and experience the fun, friendly environment. Even if going veg isn’t on your “to-do” list, it’s still a great event for family fun, ending with live music and DJs in Stromovka. Afterall, what could be more fun than watching someone walk down the street dressed as a peapod?