This past Saturday, more than 10,000 people — including civil rights leader and US Congressman John Lewis — gathered at the beautiful waterfront Yards Park for DC VegFest 2013 to celebrate vegan eating, enjoy engaging speakers and cooking demos, browse over 100 exhibitors or vendor shops, and of course, eat!
The weather was perfect — 70s and mostly sunny — and attendees started lining up well over an hour in advance for the festival, eager to get one of our 1,000 free DC VegFest commemorative bags, stuffed with free veg products and coupons!
On the main stage, VegFest attendees listened to dynamic presentations by ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll, HSUS Vice President of Farm Animal Protection Paul Shapiro, Associate Director for Preventative Medicine at PCRM Dr. Milton Mills, and Hampton Creek Foods CEO Josh Tetrick. Dr. Ruby Lathon, Ayinde Howell, and Dan and Annie Shannon also engaged the crowd with entertaining and informative vegan cooking demos. Author John Schlimm brought his outstanding energy to the stage all day as the event emcee!
The food, ranging from savory meals to tasty sweets, impressed even the most hesitant omnivores! Among the nearly two dozen food exhibitors were four food trucks, a raw food juice bar, dessert bakeries, and much more. Bread & Brew’s beer garden drew a steady crowd all day as attendees relaxed in the sun and enjoyed cold, local brews — along with Bread & Brew’s famous loaded vegan nachos!
Our kids’ activity events were also a huge hit! Magician Michael Worsham put on a jaw-dropping performance for a crowd of wide-eyed kids (and even the parents were left wondering how he did it!) Vegan mom of three Lesley Parker Rollins was on-hand to offer advice and guidance for vegan parents, and Doron Petersan shared secrets and tips on how to make easy, kid-friendly recipes! Chris P. Carrot and Petunia the pig walked through the crowds all day greeting kids and giving out free hugs and high-fives!
An inspiring amount of community compassion was also evident from the results of our first-ever vegan food drive for Capital Area Food Bank: 347 pounds of food were donated by VegFest attendees!
Thanks to all of our hard-working volunteers, engaging speakers, generous sponsors, and our more than 100 vendors as well as everyone who joined us on Saturday for the festivities, this event was our biggest VegFest celebration yet. With so many reasons to explore plant-based eating, and with your continued support, we hope this event continues to grow and spread a message of compassion.