WNY VegFest This Sunday In Delaware Park
by Artvoice Staff (@Artvoice) - posted 11:07 am, July 31, 2015
By Melissa Meyer
As far back as the 19th century there were events and gatherings with names like Vegetarian Congress, Vegetarian Week and Vegetarian Conference. Most of them featured music and art along with expressing adherence to a vegetarian diet. Those clunky titles have been exchanged for the much handier VegFest and these food festivals are spreading quickly across America and around the world.
Buffalo’s second WNY VegFest will again be at Marcy Casino & Rose Garden in Delaware Park, this Sunday, August 2, 10am and 6pm. Last year’s VegFest brought in over 5,000 people. That was a surprise to VegFest promoters Albert Brown and Sara Rogers, considering Buffalo is so well known for its wings and beer festivals.
“We would have been happy if 1,000 people showed up,” said Brown. “I had no idea that the community was going to come out so enthusiastically.”
The success of VegFest is largely a testament to the mindfulness, health awareness, and environmental consciousness of people in Western New York. It is a celebration of being thoughtful about what people put in their bodies, and how they live their lives, affecting all creatures and the planet.
With the theme of this year’s event being A Plant-Based Lifestyle and Its Benefits in an Age of Climate Change, the event is likely to spark some great educational awareness regarding a plant-based lifestyle. Over a dozen speakers and performers will appear at VegFest, along with loads of food from local and regional vendors.
Brown said that the performance and children’s areas will be expanded because they were areas of major success last year. He is especially excited about the aerial artists that will be performing for both adults and children, additionally lowering their silks to do workshop with kids. There will be more dancing, performances, and food, making this a VegFest that emphasizes fun.
For those interested in some physical activity, there is a 5K Tofurky Trot with all proceeds going to WNY’s own Asha Farm Sanctuary and Food Not Bombs, a nonprofit organization that Brown founded. Incorporating a health perspective is something that makes this VegFest unique amongst other festivals. It is the only VegFest with a Tofurky Trot on the East Coast, with the other two being in Portland, OR and Oakland, CA. It is also the largest of its kind. Runners are encouraged to dress up, bring friendly four-legged friends, and walk or run in a natural course where they can enjoy the beauty of nature in one of Buffalo’s most treasured locations.
One of the draws to hosting the festival at Delaware Park is the natural trail for the 5K, “[Hosting at Delaware Park] gives us the opportunity to have the Tofurky Trot there and not in the streets. We can have a natural course. People get to run a trail run, and they’re not in the street potentially blocking traffic,” says Rogers. Brown adds, “Plus, it’s a historic site and a lot of people describe it as the heart of Buffalo…it’s just a cool place to be.”
Buffalo Mayor, Byron Brown and the Buffalo Council declared the first day of VegFest to be Vegan Day in the City of Buffalo. He enjoyed last year’s festivities with the rest of the community. Albert Brown emphasizes, “We are not trying to just hang out with our vegan friends. We are trying to get a message to those who have not yet seen the benefits of this lifestyle, and the only way to do that is through kindness, respect, humility, and inviting them to a party!”
Everyone in the region is encouraged to come out for the event. “This is for everybody. This is not just a vegan thing. I want people to know that they’re not going to be judged, that this is going to be a fun time, more like a party than an educational seminar where you’re going to feel guilty afterwards. Our goal is to make people see how in a fun way, a plant-based lifestyle can be beneficial to themselves and the world. And that’s our mission,” says Brown. He continues, “These changes [take] little effort and make you start feeling good about your choices.”
WNY VegFest is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring vegan food donations for Buffalo’s Food Not Bombs. Runner registration begins at 9:30am, with the 5K starting at 11:00am. Runners are encouraged to register in advance. On site animal adoptions will be featured, as well many vendors, speakers, musicians, performers, and artists. For more information, visit www.wnyvegfest.com.