Local organization Central Coast Vegans will host San Luis Obispo’s first-ever VegFest, a free, day-long vegan festival, Saturday, Feb. 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Veterans Hall in San Luis Obispo.
VegFests take place nationwide; thousands have crowded cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco for vegan festivals of the same name. Master Scheduler Jenny Jones wanted to bring the event to the Central Coast.
“We’re putting this event on for the heck of it,” Jones said. “Health, environment, consciousness, kindness — heck.”
Jones explained many people in the vegan community have transitioned to a vegan lifestyle because of those four factors. These are also the elements she says they want to bring attention to through their festival.
Speakers and vendors from as far as Los Angeles will travel to San Luis Obispo for the event, including the keynote speaker, 300-pound vegan and former NFL defensive lineman David Carter. The event will also feature educational booths, merchandise vendors, free food samples, cooking demonstrations and urban gardening.
“We’ve designed this particular event specifically for students, especially Cal Poly students,” Jones said. “We live in this community that is an agricultural community, and we wanted to bring a different perspective on agriculture to the students.”
Jones said she believes plant-based agriculture is the future, as animal agriculture has shown to be less sustainable. With more than 10 food vendors, Jones said VegFest will be an opportunity for vegans and non-vegans alike to try plant-based versions of their favorite foods.
“That’s why we all want to convert people to veganism — we just want more restaurant options!” Jones joked.
Eleven-year-old vegan Dane Indvik, who has assisted in organizing the event, serves as chair of the Family Zone, a component of VegFest dedicated to children’s education and entertainment.
“I’ve been vegan for two years. I love animals and when I found out about all the abuse going on in the food industry, I just stopped eating them,” Dane said. “I think it’s important to educate kids on what their food choices are and what they result in.”
The Family Zone will feature vegan book author and illustrator Ruby Roth, who will conduct storytime sessions for children throughout the event.
The Central Coast Vegans board member and animal rights activist said she is vegan for the animals, but VegFest welcomes everyone.
“We hope people come join us whether they’re vegan, vegetarian, omnivore or simply curious,” Koteen said.
Find more information about VegFest at ccveg.org.