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updated: 8/9/2013 10:08 AM

Naperville Veggie Fest makes name with food demos, speakers

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  • Fruit sculptures, falafel and vegetarian dishes from India, Italy, Mexico and other countries will be on display and for sale Saturday and Sunday at the eighth annual Veggie Fest hosted by Science of Spirituality Meditation Center, 4S175 Naperville Road in Naperville.

      Fruit sculptures, falafel and vegetarian dishes from India, Italy, Mexico and other countries will be on display and for sale Saturday and Sunday at the eighth annual Veggie Fest hosted by Science of Spirituality Meditation Center, 4S175 Naperville Road in Naperville.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • Vegetarian cooking demonstrations are a big draw at Veggie Fest, which runs 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Science of Spirituality Meditation Center, 4S175 Naperville Road in Naperville. Here, Guru Prasad cooks up some Dosa in 2009.

      Vegetarian cooking demonstrations are a big draw at Veggie Fest, which runs 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Science of Spirituality Meditation Center, 4S175 Naperville Road in Naperville. Here, Guru Prasad cooks up some Dosa in 2009.
    Daily Herald File Photo

  • Last year's Veggie Fest in Naperville drew 25,000 people over two days, and organizers expect similarly large crowds at this year's festival from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Science of Spirituality Meditation Center, 4S175 Naperville Road.

       Last year's Veggie Fest in Naperville drew 25,000 people over two days, and organizers expect similarly large crowds at this year's festival from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Science of Spirituality Meditation Center, 4S175 Naperville Road.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

 
 

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.

"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.

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