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Veggie Fest 2019 Was Successfully Held, Drew Huge Crowd

Spiritual leader Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj, chief sponsor of Veggie Fest, gave the keynotes

LISLE,IL- The two-day festival opened Saturday morning with words from local dignitaries, among them Mayors Chris Pecak and Phil Suess, of Lisle and Wheaton respectively. Dan Hebread, president of the DuPage County Forest Preserve welcomed Veggie Fest to its new location, and event coordinator, Jonathan Kruger said: “There were tens of thousands of people spread out all over this beautiful park, and it never felt crowded. I’m still walking around saying, ‘Wow!’”

This is the first year for Veggie Fest at Danada South Park, Navistar Drive in Lisle, IL — a new venue with much more room than any of the previous locations. More room, as we all know, means more of everything.

The 4000 foot kids’ tent had been packed since opening, and lots of little people were walking around with their faces painted. A separate area for toddlers and a special learn-to-meditate tent just for parents and kids were also part of the children’s program this year.

The huge international food court went full tilt all weekend. You can check it out at www.veggiefestchicago.com/food-court/, but to appreciate what it really was like, you had to be there. A couple of recent additions included four styles of vegan omelets (without eggs) and the rising star of the vegan burger scene, the Beyond Burger. South Indian dosas were back, and if you’ve never had one, you missed out on something great. BTW, the lines moved quickly.

A thousand (1000) volunteers come from countries all over the world to make Veggie Fest a success. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and their loving service accounts for the peaceful atmosphere everyone comments on.

Veggie Fest boasted an impressive roster of speakers. Kicking off on Saturday was Saraswati Sukumar, Ph.D., professor of oncology and pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who talked about her research on preventing breast cancer using natural foods and herbs.

Noted spiritual leader Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj, head of Science of Spirituality, chief sponsor of Veggie Fest, gave the keynotes both days on meditation for healthy living. On Saturday, he said we need to heal our spirit if we are to heal our body, mind, and emotions. He continued this theme on Sunday, speaking about meditation and giving detailed meditation instructions, after which the audience had a chance to try it for themselves.

John Salley, four-time NBA champion and former member of Chicago Bulls basketball team, spoke passionately about why he adopted a plant-based diet. Kenny Duggal, MD, ABPMR, assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center, attracted a crowd with his talk: “Eat Green, Get Lean.”

Both Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C., George Washington University School of Medicine and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and Terry Mason, M.D.,COO of the Cook County Health Department, talked about the power of plant-based foods to create and sustain our health and wellbeing.

After listening to several speakers, a young mother commented, “I never realized there was so much scientific research done on plant-based eating. There are going to be some changes in my house.”

Several favorites were back doing demos: Chicago’s premier raw food restauranteur, Karyn Calabrese; cookbook author Elle Jaffe; Marla Rose of Chicago’s Vegan Mania; and vegan gourmet chefs, Acooba Scott and Chef Ramses Bravo. Nature’s Path Organics, one of the biggest names in organic food and a Veggie Fest favorite, offered cooking tips and free samples.

Backing up the scene on both days was some great music. Zach, Deacon Blues, Afinca’o, Brother John, Gizzae, and V. Holmes’ A Tribute to the Motown Greats. People started dancing sometime in the afternoon, and even though it got dark and the band had packed up, they still hung around. Sorry, guys. You’re just going to have to wait until next year.

Veggie Fest 2019 is one that will be remembered for a long time. However, it doesn’t all end when Veggie Fest is over! Be sure to see the internet for Veggie Fest Presents programs throughout the year. There’s something happening every week at the Science of Spirituality International Meditation Center. It’s all on veggiefestchicago.org. Check it out.

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