Celebrate VegFest with growing numbers of Lowcountry vegans

Tracy Owens of Pure Natural Market on Hilton Head Island serves up some tasty vegan treats at a previous year's VegFest at Shelter Cove Community Park. LYNNE COPE HUMMELL

Vegans in the Lowcountry have good reason to rejoice: The number of like-minded individuals is growing locally.

And more good news is that there is an annual festival on Hilton Head Island to celebrate that lifestyle choice and share its benefits with others from all backgrounds and eating styles.

Welcome to Lowcountry VegFest, slated for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 19 at Shelter Cove Community Park on Hilton Head Island.

The event is presented by the Palmetto Plant Eaters Club.

"The highlight is always the vegan food because it is delicious and fun," said Carla Golden, director of the planning committee for the event.

But it's not just about the food. The higher goal, Golden said, "is to foster justice and compassion for all living beings on a healthy planet."

To that end, "we have partnered with animal justice organizations, human rights organizations, and environmental organizations to raise awareness around how each of us can make kinder and healthier personal choices and how we can impact local, state and national policies that favor justice and compassion for everyone," Golden said.

A highlight of the festival will be two dynamic main stage speakers: Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, cultural commentator, podcaster and award-winning author of seven books; and Grey, hip hop artist, performer and speaker.

More than 70 sponsors and vendors will fill the park with food, drinks, education, entertainment, merchandise, demonstrations, and services.

A hometown favorite band, Lowcountry Boil, will provide musical entertainment.

Again, there is lots of delicious food. Those not familiar are likely to be impressed and delighted with the variety of flavors, colors, nutritional value and generally delicious taste of vegan foods.

Vegan food does not contain meat or flesh from any animal, including fish, eggs, animal milk, gelatin, honey, or animal milk derived products like whey. Vegan foods are made from fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, fungi, and seeds, and may be unprocessed, minimally processed, or highly processed.

"Plant-based eating is a powerful personal tool to influence more positive health outcomes and longevity," Golden said. "It is also a way to practice daily a wider circle of compassion for all living beings, including humans, and a bold method of reducing harm to our global environment."

Admission to this community event is free. It is requested that attendees bring one non-perishable, non-expired vegan food item to donate to the Sandalwood Community Food Pantry in lieu of an event entrance fee.

For more information, visit LowcountryVegFest.com.

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