Organizers of Veggie Fest in Naperville knew they made it big when they no longer had to recruit speakers.
Prominent presenters from organic food company Nature's Path, Whole Foods and Johns Hopkins University, and even a teenage vegetarian activist from Oak Brook, came to them and will be coming to the festival grounds this weekend at Science of Spirituality Meditation Center, 4S175 Naperville Road.
If You GoWhat: 8th annual Veggie Fest
When: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, and Sunday, Aug. 11
Where: Science of Spirituality Meditation Center 4S175 Naperville Road, Naperville
Who: Sponsored by Science of Spirituality Meditation Center
Cost: Free admission; food for sale
"What's exciting is we no longer have to go out and find people. They find us. We can pick and choose who we want on the schedule," said Jonathan Krueger, one of the event managers for the eighth annual event. "A lot of people are impressed with the speakers at Veggie Fest."
Billed as one of the largest vegetarian festivals in North America, Veggie Fest drew 25,000 people over two days last year to enjoy an international food court, listen to folk and reggae music, learn about the health benefits of a vegetarian, vegan or raw food diet and even take a challenge to "go veg" for a week.
"At Veggie Fest, we're pretty low-key in trying to educate people," Krueger said. "We're trying to say you don't have to become a vegetarian all at once, but maybe slowly. It will make a big difference."
This year's event includes all the same elements as last year's festival, including cooking demonstrations, a spirituality and health symposium, vendor booths, an art show and a large children's area. Admission is free, but pets are not allowed.
Veggie Fest runs 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, and Sunday, Aug. 11. For a schedule of speakers and cooking demonstrations, visit veggiefestchicago.com.