~No, this post isn’t about a farmer’s market, but rather an interesting festival I attended today. VeggieFest celebrates vegetarians, vegan, raw/paleo, organic, and gluten-free food and the lifestyle that encompasses it. Hundreds of people, including myself, battled through the heat and humidity to sample a unique variety of vegetarian foods, watch cooking demos, and listen to live music. I went not because I’m vegetarian or vegan (which I am neither, by the way), but it was something to do and it sounded interesting. And who can beat free admission and free parking?!
I arrived in the sweltering heat and wander around the festival with the hundreds of others that have made the journey to Lisle. Vendors stretched out in neat shaded rows while a reggae band played in the background. There were a couple of live cooking demos, an art show and an organic food drive. For only a couple of dollars, you could shop in the small tent and donate the item you purchased into shopping carts filled close to the brim. Among the rice, beans and granola, I donated 2 bags of red lentils. Their goal was to raise $10,000. The art show featured drawings from school children in the surrounding areas and depicted animals, plants, and why meditating is cool.
There were also 2 book stands there as well. The first one displayed cookbooks for vegan and vegetarian cooking, changing your lifestyle, and healing properties of certain foods. Though I didn’t purchase anything, I kept browsing back at a book titled “The Sustainability Revolution”.
What I was most looking forward to was the food! There were so many different cuisines to choose from that it was hard to pick just one! They had Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Caribbean, Indian and Middle Eastern. After looking around at the endless options, I settled on a wrap. You got a wrap on either a white or wheat tortilla, a pickle and a bag of chips for 4 food tickets. I had no idea exactly what was in the wrap, but it was delicious! 😀
I didn’t think I’d take anything home with me, but of course I found something. And who was there none other than the folks at Vegan Crazy!!! I’m pretty sure they think I’m stalking them, but trust me, when you get a taste of their amazing granola, you want to get it anyway and anywhere you can! I restrained myself and bought only one package of granola bites (this time goji berry coconut) and some lemon cookies.
The final event I took part in at VeggieFest was listening to a lecture from keynote speaker
Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj.
I regret not knowing anything about this man before listening to his speech, but he must be really famous. Because when he got out of his car and was walking to the stage, a HUGE crowd gathered around to catch a glimpse of him and put their hands together in prayer as he walked by. To be respectful, I did the same. He smiled and waved at his adoring fans until he took the stage. It turns out that he’s a Spiritual Master and teaches about meditation and how to live a healthy, spiritual life. He was pretty interesting!
What I remembered most from his lecture was when he told a story from when he visited a church in Barcelona, Spain years ago. The church was undergoing renovations and he had found a mural of children meditating with their thumbs in their ears and their hands covering their eyes. He said that upon seeing the mural it made him so happy, and how everyone of every faith, religion, and culture, whether young or old, can benefit from the power of meditating.
All in all, VeggieFest was pretty cool. It was an interesting experience where I learned more about being vegetarian/vegan. I’m not planning to give up on meat, but a least now I have a better understanding about life without it.