Here’s the first thing you have to know about Veggie Fest 2015:
It’s moved! This year’s festival — which is Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 15 and 16) — will be spread out on the grounds of Benedictine University, 5700 College Road, Lisle. Lots of space to move around and check out the action.
Really, it’s no surprise that in its tenth year Veggie Fest will be setting up in a new location. It is one of the largest festivals in the United States that shines the spotlight on the vegetarian lifestyle. And it just keeps on growing; last year more than 30,000 participants took part in the activities, organizers say. All those visitors aren’t just from neighboring towns, either; people come from across the country because the fest is just that good.
The two-day festival features authors, speakers on a number of topics and food demos as well as more than 100 vendors.
There’s a number of interesting topics that will be discussed. For example Dr. Rimjhim Duggal Stephens will offer a medical perspective on children following a vegetarian diet. Saraswati Sukumar, director of the brain cancer program at Johns Hopkins Hospital, will talk about how the foods and other items from our grandmother’s kitchens help in the fight against cancer. The keynote address — which is on spiritual wellness Saturday and food for the soul on Sunday — will be given by Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj, head of the Science of Spirituality Meditation Center, which is the organizer of Veggie Fest. Check out the list of speakers here.
At most festivals, food is the big draw and Veggie Fest is no exception. There will be food demos given by Karyn Calabrese (Karyn’s Raw), longtime advocate of meatless dining. Laurie Sadowski will talk about allergy-free baking. Dietitian Vesanto Melina will discuss becoming a vegan. And of course there will be samples to taste both days. (Check out the list of demos here.)
Caribbean vegetarian “chicken” and rice, smoothies, sweet potato fries, falafels, nachos and the popular veggie kabobs are among the many tasty treats available at the Vegetarian Food Court.
Veggie Fest has always seen itself as something for the entire family. So there is a whole section of the grounds where kids can have fun and learn a bit about vegetarianism. There will be face painting, crafts, games, clowns and much more.
Oh, and let’s not forget that there is live music both days.
The Challenge is back, too! Sign up to eat vegetarian meals for two weeks.
Interesting participants will receive recipe ideas and advice as well as a goodie bag to get them started. You can follow a lacto-vegetarian or vegan diet. You’ll get advice, recipe ideas and a goodie bag.
Admission and parking is free. To see everything the fest has to offer, go here.
PHOTOS COURTESY VEGGIE FEST