Pigs out: Vegetarians stage healthful bash

Vegetarianism has hit the mainstream. Once associated only with the counterculture or other countries, being vegetarian now ceases to raise eyebrows, And like most good movements, it has spawned as many offshoots as an overlooked potato. Few could argue with the rewards of more healthful eating, and as current food trends adapt to modern society, the more choices we have, the better.
The sixth annual Vegetarian Festival sets up shop again on September 28 to celebrate health-conscious living. The day’s offerings include restaurant booths, nutritional information, exhibitors, Kid’s Patch, live acoustic music, and– because this year’s coordinator comes from Voices for Animals– a dog and cat adoption fair, and fun-raising activities for a spay/neuter project.
All food served, of course, will be vegetarian, with featured cuisines from India, China, the Mediterranean area, and Mexico. An “Ask the Nutritionist” table will offer free samples from natural food companies, and there’ll be exhibits explaining acupuncture, chiropractic care, and alternative, cruelty-free personal care products.
The Kid’s Patch (always a must for family-oriented activities) includes juggling, magic tricks, vegetable print painting, beanbag toss, and mini astrology readings.
All of this and more happens at Lee Park adjacent to the main library and only one block from the Downtown Mall. With its more than 100 exhibitors and expected 6,000 visitors, the festival is now the second largest vegetarian extravaganza in the United States (after the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival).
Keeping with the notion of conscious choice for all living things that proponents suggest is the best way to lead a healthful life, this year will allow cats and dogs to share the fun. The adoption fair will feature more than 10 local shelters and sanctuaries with animals in need of loving homes.
All in all, this festival epitomizes things that remain wonderful about Charlottesville. An educational experience coupled with fun, games, and music for everyone, in a location that’s integral to downtown, just can’t be beat for small town living. And if it puts us on the map as a vegetarian destination, then the whole town wins.

The Charlottesville Vegetarian Festival happens September 28 from 11am-4pm in Lee Park. For more information, contact Marianne Roberts, Festival Coordinator, at 434-823-1200, or check out the website avenue.org/vegfest. Free.