Festival goers look on at their vegan starter at the march that took aim at promoting awareness for animal rights.
Photo by Shannon Cardella
By Clara Applegarth
In a town that is evolving more towards environmentalism, the first Central Coast Vegan Fest was recently held drawing about 3,500 attendees.
Central Coast Vegans, who held the free event, gave people the chance to eat a variety of dishes, attend cooking demos, and listen to guest speakers discuss the benefits of a plant based diet throughout the day.
Wayne Hsiung, a vegan activist, gave a passionate speech urging the audience to attend a march downtown in solidarity for animal rights, after the festival.
“We have a right to know what is happening behind closed doors,” Hsiung said . “So many of these creatures do not feel a moment of compassion.”
Hsiung highlighted Buddhist morals and applied them not only to taking action against the harsh conditions animals live in, but the current political climate in the country.
“I became a vegan for health reasons,” said Mia Abrams, Cal Poly student. “H.E.C.K. are the four reasons people go vegan. You don’t have to be biased to be vegan.”
H.E.C.K. is an acronym that stands for health, environment, conscience, and kindness.
SLO Veg-Fest even offered a family corner where kids could play interactive games that urged for a plant-based diet.
“It’s a matter of raising consciousness,” said Dr. Andy Mars, founder and director of the Kids Make A Difference Foundation. “It really gets kids thinking about what’s on their plate.”
Central Coast Vegans had a surge of new members join their cause during the festival.
“This has far exceeded my expectations,” said Marleta Garner, Central Coast Vegan member. “This is an all demographics, all people, all in global movement.”