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Annual Gluten-free Fest returns in-person with more vendors, free goodies

Their first event in 2019 welcomed over 1200 people
Gluten free fest
Gluten-free Fest in 2019

Attendees of this year's annual KW Gluten-free fest are invited to try the latest gluten-free food being made in Kitchener, Waterloo and beyond in their first in-person event since the pandemic. 

Held at the Bingeman’s Conference Centre on Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m, the event anticipates more than 20 local bakeries, restaurants and catering companies will be participating in the event. However, some products are manufactured in non-dedicated facilities and may not be certified gluten-free, which is essential for some folks with celiac disease.

“Little did we know that ​Gluten Free Fest would evolve into much more than our original vision,” said creators, Sara and Liz, of the Gluten-Free Collective.  “Our original goal of supporting local gluten-free businesses and the celiac/gluten-free community remains the same, however, we know there’s more that can be done to advocate for our collective community.” 

Sara, who is diagnosed with celiac disease, had always fostered a passion for local gluten-free businesses but “envisioned” a one-stop shopping event with guest speakers. In September 2019, the first event welcomed 23 gluten-free exhibitors, two guest speakers and over 1,200 guests. 

“We witnessed first-hand the bond that guests had with each other and observed ear-to-ear smiles (when people realised they were) in an environment they knew was safe to consume products without worry,” said the creators, Sara and Liz, in a statement on their website.

Since Gluten Free Fest, the women have received an overwhelming community response, using their momentum to continue championing gluten-free living in the KW area by connecting people and businesses, hosting meet-ups, assisting with food drives and planning upcoming events. 

Most booths at the festival will hand out free samples or coupons and hot food will be readily available. Those that purchased online tickets will receive a free tote bag on arrival. 

Attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable gluten-free food item to donate to The Food Bank of Waterloo Region.

Tickets for the KW Gluten-free Fest cost $10 cash at the door, with free admission for kids under 12. Online ticket sales end today at 5 p.m.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to the event's Facebook page.

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