Billed as one of the largest vegetarian festivals in North America, Veggie Fest kicked off two days of food, music and information about healthy eating Saturday in Naperville.
Sponsored by the Science of Spirituality Meditation Center, the eighth annual event features prominent presenters from organic food company Nature's Path, Whole Foods and Johns Hopkins University, and even a teenage vegetarian activist from Oak Brook.
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More than 30,000 people are expected to attend this year's festival, organizers said.
As in the past, the event includes an international food court, folk and reggae music, a chance to learn about the health benefits of a vegetarian, vegan or raw food diet and even a challenge to "go veg" for a week. There are also cooking demonstrations, a spirituality and health symposium, vendor booths, an art show and a large children's area.
"It's a day about family, it's a day about fun and everyone's out here to learn about Veggie Fest," said Jonathan Kruger, one of the managers of the event.
One patron, Monica Lidral, said she's been a vegetarian for more than 25 years and loves the event for its variety of food available for sale and information on new products.
Admission is free but pets are not allowed.
Veggie Fest continues Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the center, 4S175 Naperville Road.
For a schedule of speakers and cooking demonstrations, visit veggiefestchicago.com.