5 Super-Cool Vegetarian Summer Festivals

Whether you’re a longtime vegetarian, an animal lover, foodie, or just curious about a plant-based diet, immersing yourself in a vegetarian festival this summer is a great way to get a taste of the cuisine, meet other veg-enthusiasts, and boost your veggie IQ. Check out summer 2012's line-up of veg festivals and get inspired to plan a fun-filled summer veg-cation.
By Vegetarian Times Editors ,

PHOTO: Plant-based chef & health educator Chad Sarno giving a demo at last year's Vegetarian Summerfest.

Whether you’re a longtime vegetarian, an animal lover, foodie, or just curious about a plant-based diet, immersing yourself in a vegetarian festival this summer is a great way to get a taste of the cuisine, meet other veg-enthusiasts, and boost your veggie IQ. Check out summer 2012's lineup of veg festivals and get inspired to plan a fun-filled summer veg-cation.

The Richmond Vegetarian Festival
June 23
Location  Azalea Gardens in Bryan Park, Richmond, Va.
Vibe  Vegan Action and The Vegetarian Society of Richmond have put together a family-friendly day of music, fun, and food. You’ll have the opportunity to visit booth after booth featuring mouthwatering grub and local veg-friendly nonprofits and businesses.
Don't miss Cool off with a dish of Deluca’s gelato while taking in the sounds of local musicians.

Vegetarian Summerfest
June 27-July1
Location  Conference Center at Pitt-Johnstown, University of Pittsburgh. Johnstown, Pa.
Vibe  Be prepared for a life-changing week. Participants walk away empowered, educated, and ready to forge a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle with gusto.
Don't miss  Powerful talks by Neal D. Barnard, MD, (VT's Ask the Doc columnist and president of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine), vegan pastry chef extraordinaire Fran Costigan and veggie dietitian and author Brenda Davis, RD. Plus, enjoy vegan meals prepared by chef Mark Reinfeld (gluten-free and raw options are available).

VegFest Houston
June 9
Location  Pecore Hall, Havens Center and St. Stephen's Campus, Houston
Vibe  The Vegan Society of PEACE is kicking off its inaugural VegFest with a day of films, speakers, entertainment for adults and kids, cooking demonstrations, and  phenomenal food from Houston’s vegetarian restaurants.
Don't miss  Get schooled in veg health by sitting in on lectures by Baxter Montgomery, MD, and author Victoria Moran—Michael Moore calls Moran’s latest book, Main Street Vegan, “a book that isn’t preaching to the vegan choir, but to the people in the pews. . . .  Once you read this, you’ll know it’s possible to get healthy and enjoy doing it.”

Twin Cities Veg Fest
July 14
Location  Coffman Memorial Union, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Vibe  Even though this is the Twin Cities’ first Veg Fest, it’s shaping up to deliver the goods, from free food to a stellar speaker lineup.
Don't miss  Gain nutritional wisdom by attending the talk by Suzy Sorensen, RD. If you’re interested in animal rights issues, take in the lecture by Erica Meier, executive director of Compassion Over Killing.

Veggie Fest
August 11-12
Location  Science of Spirituality Meditation Center, Naperville, Ill.
Vibe  Get ready for two days of veggie paradise. Chicago’s Veggie Fest is one of the largest in the country, so you’ll be surrounded by other veg-enthusiasts devouring the music, good eats, and spectacular speakers.
Don't miss  Check out the variety of food demos and pick up some culinary skills to bring home after the festival!

Did we overlook a vegetarian or veg-friendly festival in your neck of the woods? Let us know below.

Corinne Bowen is a freelance journalist and copywriter living in Baltimore with her husband and daughter. She blogs about her adventures in writing, veggies, marriage, and motherhood at CorinneBowen.com.

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