Columbia will soon host its first VegFest to teach the community about vegan choices and products.
VegFest takes place annually in cities around the nation and Columbia was recently added to the list. The festival first took place in 2014 and now travels to 10 different cities, and each festival has its own unique spin.
VegFest will take place at Segra Park on June 26 from 11-5 p.m, and tickets can be purchased online.
“The main message is to educate the communities on the benefits of a plant-based diet and how that impacts your health, the animals and the planet,” said Helene Greenberg, executive director of VegFest.
The festival will have different vendors and activities including food, products, music, education and games.
Sponsors and partnerships with animal sanctuaries will be brought in to help educate the community. The presenting sponsor for this year is Cotton Branch Farm Sanctuary, which helps save abused and abandoned pigs. The sanctuary also educates and advocates for the treatment of farm animals in factories and farms.
“It’s important for people to understand what it’s like for the animals and their lives, and how going to a sanctuary or a refuge helps them,” said Greenberg. “They get to live out their lives with love as opposed to the tortuous life they had or the life they were saved from having.”
Greenberg said the goal is not to force people to become vegan, rather it is to educate people on the positives of being vegan.
Speakers at the festival will be talking about the importance of veganism, including The Vegan Meathead who is coming in from Texas.
The vendors at VegFest will be a mixture of vendors that travel to each festival and vendors who are local to the Columbia area. Some of the vendors include A Piece of Soul Vegan Kitchen, Prophecy Chocolate, Designs by Kween and Compassion Co., and more. The online interactive map shows the list of vendors, as well as the locations of different activities.
The event will have a family fun zone which will include life-sized games, a bounce house area, a magician, face painting, and more.
Vendors, sponsors and volunteers can still sign up on the website. to be a part of the festival.