On Saturday, June 15, the Richmond Vegetarian Festival will be back for their 11th year, celebrating all things vegetarian with the best cooks in town. The festival will feature over 20 vendors, including Carytown Burgers and Fries, Grapevine Restaurant and Ellwood Thompson’s Natural Market. “People are always approaching us asking to be a part of the event,” said Brenda A. Morris, volunteer for the festival and member of the Vegetarian Society of Richmond.
There will be an “Iron Chef”-style competition included as part of the festivities. Previously named Meatless Gourmet, this year’s edition is known as the Food Fight, with three local chefs creating three dishes each in 60 minutes while using a secret ingredient. “It’s tough to pull off [a competition in the middle of a park], but it always draws a crowd,” said Morris.
In addition to the food-related events, the festival will also feature live music. Performances start at 12pm with the Classical Revolution RVA string quartet, and continue with a variety of acts such as long-running local jazz group Hotel X and folk-rock band Moossa. Speakers will also be present, including dietician Jane Wilson, who will give advice to people interested in becoming vegetarian, and Vegan boxer Omowale “Wale” Adewale.
With an expected crowd of around 5,000, the festival will have plenty to offer for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. “[At some festivals] people walk through, get a feel for it and then leave,” said Morris. “But [here] people stay for the day, and it makes my heart feel so warm.”
Attendees are encouraged to carpool, arrive early and keep hydrated. Visitors can also bring personal hygiene items to donate the troops, as this years festival supports the USO of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia. The Richmond Vegetarian Festival takes place from 12-6pm June 15 in the Azalea Gardens in Bryan Park, and is free to attend. For more information, check the festival’s website at veggiefest.org, or their facebook page at facebook.com/RichmondVegFest.
Maya Earls and is a second-year journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was born in Los Angeles, and moved to Richmond in 2000. Her first journalism experience was managing social media for the Rock4Life benefit concert.She enjoys exploring Richmond on her bike and finding good views of the river. Her favorite past-time is watching people dance in their cars from her apartment window.