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4th of July in Columbus, OH = Doo Dah Parade + Hal & Al’s After Party!

4th of July in Columbus, OH = Doo Dah Parade + Hal & Al’s After Party!

Oh man. Columbus, Ohio was a blast thanks in large part to the incredible people I met while there. And who knew how incredible it would be to land in Columbus just a couple of days prior to The 4th of July? The city holds an annual parade (this was the 29th installment) called the Doo Dah Parade. Diverse groups march along wearing unique outfits, holding signs supporting their groups/passions/messages, and according to the parade’s website, “…off the wall range of mischiefs, [including] grounded super heroes, political debacles, homegrown satirists, and other bohemian frolickers…” As the self-proclaimed Craziest Parade in History, the Doo Dah Parade is surely something not to miss. What’s more, there was a group of nearly 300 vegans getting together to march. Awww, heck yeah!! Thanks to John C. for giving me the heads up about this awesomeness! :)

I had arrived in Columbus a day or two prior to the parade. Turned out, most of the vegan eateries that were on my to-visit list were shut down because the city experienced a major power outage due to a big ol’ storm.  The only vegan joint open when I arrived was Hal & Al’s, an all-vegan dive bar with the greasiest, most delicious, and unhealthiest vegan food you can imagine. Nice. Conveniently, I was staying with a vegan family (shout out to Karen and the boys!!) who lived just a block away from  Hal & Al’s. Excellent!

The first (or was it the second?) night that I was in Columbus a group of us gathered at Hal & Al’s for a few drinks.

Karen, Cindy, Kristin, & JeffKaren, Cindy, Kristin, and Jeff

Organized by the ever vibrant Eriyah Flynn, vegans started to gather at a gazebo in Goodale Park, to pick up our “vegan” t-shirts, have a snack, and prepare for the two mile walk in the Short North and Victorian Village neighborhoods of Columbus.

It was really, really, really cool to see the individuals and groups of friends and families slowly gather around. The matching t-shirts were key. It. Looked. Awesome.

300 Vegans For Independence Day - Doo Dah Parade - Columbus, OH300 Vegans For Independence Day - Doo Dah Parade - Columbus, OH

A local vegan-friendly restaurant was originally scheduled to provide the snacks for our pre-parade walk but due to the power outage, they were unable to. Luckily a fellow vegan – Heather Denaro – stepped up to take on the food making. Heather has a food and wine pairing business. You can hit her up at hmdenaroATgmailDOTcom.

300 Vegans For Independence Day - Doo Dah Parade - Columbus, OH

I love John’s custom made, plant powered messenger bag!! I also love our “matching” tattoos. ;)

300 Vegans For Independence Day - Doo Dah Parade - Columbus, OH300 Vegans For Independence Day - Doo Dah Parade - Columbus, OH

Living foods. Teehee!
300 Vegans For Independence Day - Doo Dah Parade - Columbus, OH

Time for fun photos of vegans in random (or not-so-random) formations.

300 Vegans For Independence Day - Doo Dah Parade - Columbus, OHvegans in a rowMake a "V"! - Photo by Page KagafasPhoto by Page Kagafas

As I mentioned earlier, the idea of bringing vegans together to march in Columbus’ annual Doo Dah Parade can be attributed to Eriyah Flynn. The event within an event – 300 Vegans 4 Independence Day – is a project of the Coalition for Planetary Health and Peace, which Eriyah is in the early stages of establishing.

Eriyah has a long history of raising awareness for animals which includes running various and many campaigns, and creating a multitude of brochures and other hand outs. Eriyah spoke at the Wellness Forum’s Spring Conference in May 2009, as well as Comfest for the last 3 years with a talk called The Vegan Connection, and has also attended, organized, and participated in countless, related events.

Regarding her vegan-ness, Eriyah said, “While I have always loved animals, I wasn’t raised as a vegan and I have only been an ardent vegan advocate for the last 12 years; I am an abolitionist vegan. I was first introduced to the concept of veganism when I subscribed to a publication called The Animals Agenda in 1997 and began cutting animals out of my diet and purchases. When I connected with Mercy for Animals in 2000 after attempting to assist with the chickens at the Buckeye Egg Farm tornado catastrophe, I was able to actually make the vegan shift since I had a support structure (I had been lacto-ovo vegetarian since 1998 and mostly vegan but had not gotten really disciplined with it yet). I have since read the works of many Animal Rights philosophers in the vegan movement and I’m heavily influenced by Tom Regan and Gary Francione’s works.”

Eriyah’s passion and enthusiasm surrounding her work on 300 Vegans 4 Independence Day has since inspired other cities and countries to conduct their own Vegans 4 Independence Day roundups! Here are some of the new roundups potentially taking place next year: Cleveland, OH; India; Barcelona, Spain; and Queensland, Australia.

This project is the first of its kind that I’m aware of and I want to see this trend spreading and rallying cities around the globe. With the sheer numbers of participants, this will be a high profile event which will hopefully equate to an expectation of cultural acceptance and facilitation of a vegan shift. The more visibility vegans have, the more rapidly and greater access to vegan infrastructure support will evolve. With a historical event in Ohio, news headlines will facilitate broadcasts that a rapidly rising vegan population appears on the map of social dialog. In addition, the large demonstration will equate to powerful marketing photo op that can be used to send a message to political leadership that a vegan shift is an issue that people are gravitating towards. Follow-up lobbying packages with the event photos will be sent to the local legislature to inform them of this burgeoning reality. – Eriyah Flynn

So awesome. Eriyah – thank you so much for all you’ve done and continue to do to help spread the vegan word!! :) And now for some fun parade pics!

I had to grab a quick pic of the local roller derby team and their “derby is for people not horses” sign. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Derby is for people, not horses - Roller Derby ladies rock!

We set out in a record high of 104 degree temps with an estimated 14,000-20,000 spectators and handed out over 2000 ‘A Life Connected’ and vegan resources fliers!

Columbus, OH Doo Dah Parade - 300 Vegans 4 Independence Day Columbus, OH Doo Dah Parade - 300 Vegans 4 Independence Day 4th of July Doo Dah Parade - Columbus, OHColumbus, OH Doo Dah Parade - 300 Vegans 4 Independence Day Columbus, OH Doo Dah Parade - 300 Vegans 4 Independence Day 4th of July Doo Dah Parade - Columbus, OH4th of July Doo Dah Parade - Columbus, OHPhoto by Susan Woodhouse

This was seriously one of the coolest things I’ve participated in. Just being around so many like-minded, compassionate people is truly inspiring. By the time we finished the parade we were a bit tired, thirsty, and hungry.

Welcome to the badass after party at Hal & Al’s vegan bar. Yes, I said badass. Why? Because I’ve never seen so many vegans in one place. Not like this! We took this place over, packed it full with our matching tee’s and appetite. It was one of the coolest things I’ve seen!

Hal & Al’s – 100% vegan

1297 Parsons Ave
Columbus, OH 43206

We indulged in amazing eats that included root beer floats, eight layer nachos, beer brat, bratwurst, chili, mac ‘n’ cheese, fried avocados, fried OREOS, fried pickles, burgers, pizza, artichoke dip, burritos, fries, tacos, and more. Of course, there’s a ton of alcoholic beverages here too but I’m not a big drinker so you’ll have to refer to their website to see what they have. :)

So many vegans! Hal & Al's vegan bar, after party!After party at Hal & Al's - Columbus, OH4th of July after-Doo-Dah-Parade party at Hal & Al's - Columbus, OH

I had the Taco Salad (served in a fried flour tortilla bowl, layered on a bed of lettuce, taco seasoned meat alternative, Daiya, tomato, green pepper, onion, black olives & jalapenos. Served with a side salsa and cilantro lime sauce. Can be made gluten-free), shared the Fried Sampler (Avocados, pickles, and mushrooms dipped in a beer batter and fried, served with a couple of excellent dipping sauces) and Fried Sauerkraut Balls, and had a most wonderful root beer float.

Taco Salad - Hal & Al's in Columbus, OHHal & Al's in Columbus, OHHal & Al's in Columbus, OHHal & Al's in Columbus, OH

This incredible vegan cake was made Cate McCleery at Pattycake Bakery. More to come on that bakery but for now, lookie!!

"300 Vegans" cake from Pattycake BakeryEriyah & Kristin at Hal & Al's - Columbus, OH

With Eriyah, the organizer!

Hal & Al's - Columbus, OH

Oh, hey! I just noticed my fashionable bunny years. Thank you, Karen! ;)

Thank you so much to John for letting me know about this amazing event, and to Eriyah for making it all possible. I have a lot more coming up on Columbus so stay tuned!!

Eat Well. Travel Often. <3


  1. We are in Columbus this weekend! So I wanted to come back and read this. Good stuff – I still see the “300 vegans” flyers around town!

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