Fort Langley Vegan Market organizer Brad Hawkings, seen here during the April market, said there will be an increased numbers of vendors with more in stock when the event returns on Saturday, Sept. 28. (Langley Advance Times file)

Wildly popular vegan market returns to Fort Langley

Organizers say they will be better prepared for the crowds

When the first one-day vegan market opened in Fort Langley in April, the sheer size of the crowds caught organizer Brad Hawkings by surprise.

“The floodgates opened,” Hawkings said.

He estimated there were thousands of people who lined up on the front lawn of the Fort Langley community hall to try vegan ice cream and other plant-based treats, then went inside to see the vendors where they filled the second floor to capacity.

Brad Hawkings said some people came all the way from Seattle, in a chartered bus, to attend.

READ MORE: VIDEO: First Fort Langley vegan market a hit

Several vendors ran out of things to sell in a matter of hours.

Hawkings and his wife Chelsea, co-owners of Simply Delish, believed there was an untapped market for vegan products in the Fraser Valley, but they didn’t realize how big the demand was until then.

The only equivalent to the Fort Langley market Hawkings is aware of is the vegan night market in Vancouver.

“Out in the valley, there was nothing.”

On Saturday, Sept. 28, the second Fort Langley Vegan Market will be held at the same location, the Fort Langley community hall at 9167 Glover Rd. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Again, admission is free.

So far, nearly 400 people have indicated they will go on the event Facebook page, while more than 4,000 have said they are interested in attending.

This time, Hawkings predicted, the market will be better prepared.

“The vendors, the ones who are returning, said they are making a lot more product,” Hawkings told the Langley Advance Times.

There will be more vendors this time, about 54 compared to the 35 in April, and they will be coming with more stock.

A different approach will be employed to keep people circulating and reduce indoor congestion at the hall.

“The way we laid it out this time, we have more vendors outdoors,” Hawkings said.

“This time, the flow [of people] is going to be better.”

Those who attend should still expect line-ups, he cautioned.

“It’s going to be absolutely crazy busy.”

Among the pluses, there will be two live musical performances and “a ton of samples,” Hawkings said.

A portion of the vendor fees are going to the breakfast program at Fort Langley Elementary school.

April’s market raised $1,850, enough to feed “40 to 50 kids in need” at the school, Hawkings estimated.

Visitors are being asked to bring donations of non-perishable food items for the Langley Food Bank.

At the April market, there were enough donations to fill two shopping carts.

READ ALSO: Fork and Finger event draws largest crowds yet

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Thousands packed the Fort Langley heritage hall during their first vegan market in April. The event will return on Saturday, Sept. 28. (Langley Advance Times file)

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