Cape Gazette
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VegFest 2013 celebrates love of animals

Hundreds gather to enjoy meatless cuisine
By Lexi Coon | Jun 16, 2013
Photos by: Lexi Coon Dr. Ruby Lathon of Washington, D.C., shows how to cook a plant-based, animal-friendly meal similar to the ones that healed her thyroid cancer without the aid of medicine.

Rehoboth Beach — When Patricia Haddock mentions she's a vegan, the response is often, "Oh, me too." Haddock said, "I realized there was a need for connection," and she soon created VegRehoboth.

On June 1 at the Epworth United Methodist Church, VegRehoboth, a non profit social and outreach organization for the vegan and vegetarian community, teamed up with Compassion Over Killing, a noprofit animal advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles that focuses on animal protection and promotes vegetarian eating to produce VegFest 2013.

A festival that celebrated vegetarian and vegan eating as well as animal protection, VegFest featured more than 30 exhibitors, with nationally known organizations supporting animal rights such as Fin Free, the Humane Society of the United States, and Mercy for Animals.

Other local exhibits included the Delaware SPCA, VegRehoboth and a variety of local restaurants selling their vegetarian and vegan snacks, such as Nage Restaurant, a(MUSE.) and Hobos Restaurant. Cake Break, a dessert company in Rehoboth Beach, sponsored the first cupcake eating contest for VegFest with their vegan and gluten-free cupcakes.

As guests came and went throughout the day, nine different speakers talked to the crowds with encouraging words and cooking demonstrations for healthier and more animal friendly lifestyles. Paul Shapiro, vice president of Farm Animal Protection at the Humane Society of the United States, explained the mission of vegetarians and vegans by saying, “We’re working on [the animals'] behalf as if their lives depend on it, because in all honesty, they do.”

John Schlimm, a vegan activist, educator, artist and author, recounted his decision to stop eating saying, “No human being or living animal should go through life unloved,” evoking an emotional response from both himself and the crowd.

Well over 500 visitors, young and old, from near and far, demonstrated, as Shapiro said. “This idea has reached the mainstream." After seeing the success of the celebration of vegetarianism and animal protection, organizers of VegFest 2013 said they have every intention to make this an annual event.

Delaware SPCA volunteers (l-r) Rob Marriott, Dick Byme and Jennifer Webert socialize dogs Gabriella, Lucy and Maggie, all up for adoption from the Georgetown SPCA. (Photo by: Lexi Coon)
John Schlimm, author The Grilling Vegan, The Tipsy Vegan and the soon to be released The Cheesy Vegan, autographs his cookbooks for fans after speaking to VegFest about his personal transition to veganism. (Photos by: Lexi Coon)
Hobos' Restaurant executive chef Gretchen Hanson teaches how to cook a tasty, meat-free meal. (Photos by: Lexi Coon)
Enjoying vegetarian dishes are VegFest 2013 visitors (l-r) Ed Perry, Randi Kremer and Elaine Perry . (Photo by: Lexi Coon)
Hari Cameron celebrates his victory in the first-ever VegFest cupcake eating contest. (Photos by: Lexi Coon)
Patricia Haddock, vegan and founder of VegRehoboth and co-organizer of VegFest, speaks to guests about her favorite vegan options offered at local grocery stores. (Photos by: Lexi Coon)
John Schlimm, author The Grilling Vegan, The Tipsy Vegan and the soon to be released The Cheesy Vegan, autographs his cookbooks for fans after speaking to VegFest about his personal transition to veganism. (Photos by: Lexi Coon)
Nathaniel Corn and Rissa Miller of Baltimore show off their vegan buttons and cookbook signed by John Schlimm. (Photos by: Lexi Coon)
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