Lancaster VegFest goes further than just being dog-friendly; it is an animal-friendly to the core. The event celebrates the vegan lifestyle, provides information about the advantages of a plant-based diet and benefits local nonprofit Lancaster Farm Sanctuary. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to rescuing farmed animals, many of which have been mistreated, exploited or are suffering a disability or illness.
Lancaster VegFest, which will be held at Buchanan Park on June 3 and 4, isn’t just for vegans either. Meat- and dairy-eaters are welcome to explore the benefits of plant-based diets and taste a variety of vegan foods. “For those who come with an open mind, they might be surprised at what they learn,” says event organizer, Courtney Kokus. “Most people already know that veganism is helpful to animals, but there are tons of benefits for human health and the environment.”
Even if you don’t want to commit fully to a plant-based diet, there are benefits to simply reducing meat consumption. According to the American Heart Association, eating less meat decreases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and many cancers. The association recommends replacing meat with high-quality, nutrient-dense plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes and nuts.
Studies have also shown that reducing meat consumption can free up land, save water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “We are going to have an amazing speaker on the environmental benefits of plant-based living,” Courtney says. “We know the news about climate change and the environment can feel scary and overwhelming, but at VegFest, folks can experience and learn effective, powerful – and fun and delicious – ways to protect the planet.”
The seventh-annual VegFest is a great opportunity to find inspiration for decreasing meat consumption or switching to a plant-based diet entirely. An assortment of vendors will offer foods such as baked goods, ice cream, tacos, pasta, sandwiches, cheesesteaks and much more. There will also be a farmers’ market, featuring Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, Lemon Street Market and Inna’s Pierogi Shop, to name a few. Libations will be offered at the beer garden, including cocktails from Lancaster Distilleries; beer from Our Town Brewery, Pour Man’s Brewing and Raney Cellars Brewing Company; and cider from Levengoods of Lancaster. “We are confident that the pickiest eaters will find things they love at Lancaster VegFest … I mean … beer and fries are vegan!” says Courtney.
VegFest offers more than just food. Vendors will be selling vegan clothing, beauty products, jewelry, art and more. A variety of animal rescues and nonprofits will be in attendance as well.
VegFest will also feature a lineup of activities for all ages. Free yoga from West End Yoga Studio will be offered each day at 3 p.m. Kids can participate in crafts offered by Handwork House Kids Crafts. Dogs in attendance can cool off and play at Beau’s Dream Dog Park located within Buchanan Park. Live music will be provided by the Wild Hymns and Bushmaster Blues on Saturday and Good Stew and Inca Campers on Sunday.
VegFest is free to attend from 12-5 p.m. on both days, but a $5 donation to Lancaster Farm Sanctuary is encouraged. If you’d like to get a jump start to the day, VIP tickets are available on Eventbrite for $35. VIP tickets provide exclusive access to VegFest from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and include a limited-edition tote bag with goodies, such as 10 raffle tickets and vegan samples and coupons.
Lancaster VegFest will be held rain or shine on June 3 and 4 at Buchanan Park, located at 901 Buchanan Avenue, Lancaster. Free parking can be found on streets surrounding the park. To learn more, visit pavegfest.com.