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updated: 8/12/2017 4:34 PM

Veggie Fest returns to Benedictine University in Lisle

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  • Sandy Wearne of Lisle gives away sugar maple saplings from her yard to anyone who wants one as part of her Sandy Maple Seed Project during the 12th annual Veggie Fest held this year at Benedictine University in Lisle.

      Sandy Wearne of Lisle gives away sugar maple saplings from her yard to anyone who wants one as part of her Sandy Maple Seed Project during the 12th annual Veggie Fest held this year at Benedictine University in Lisle.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Sharon Suderski and Alyssa Daniels, both 15 and of Lisle, perform at the 12th annual Veggie Fest held this year at Benedictine University in Lisle.

      Sharon Suderski and Alyssa Daniels, both 15 and of Lisle, perform at the 12th annual Veggie Fest held this year at Benedictine University in Lisle.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Laura Martinez of Naperville enjoys some lentils and Jennifer Ahern of Westchester enjoys a falafel while at the 12th annual Veggie Fest held this year at Benedictine University in Lisle.

      Laura Martinez of Naperville enjoys some lentils and Jennifer Ahern of Westchester enjoys a falafel while at the 12th annual Veggie Fest held this year at Benedictine University in Lisle.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • The food booths at the 12th annual Veggie Fest were very busy Saturday.

      The food booths at the 12th annual Veggie Fest were very busy Saturday.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Michelle Fairbarin of New Lenox enjoys a Buddha bowl and Jenny Jess of Lansing Michigan enjoys a Thai crunch salad while at the 12th annual Veggie Fest held this year at Benedictine University in Lisle.

      Michelle Fairbarin of New Lenox enjoys a Buddha bowl and Jenny Jess of Lansing Michigan enjoys a Thai crunch salad while at the 12th annual Veggie Fest held this year at Benedictine University in Lisle.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Rob Polk performs Delos Therapy, a treatment for pain, on Sharon Barton of Montgomery during 12th annual Veggie Fest held this year at Benedictine University in Lisle.

      Rob Polk performs Delos Therapy, a treatment for pain, on Sharon Barton of Montgomery during 12th annual Veggie Fest held this year at Benedictine University in Lisle.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Mats Jerndal of Bowling Green Kentucky entertains attendees at the 12th annual Veggie Fest held this year at Benedictine University in Lisle.

      Mats Jerndal of Bowling Green Kentucky entertains attendees at the 12th annual Veggie Fest held this year at Benedictine University in Lisle.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Riley Gardner, 1½, of Bolingbrook, has some fun stamping color on a picture of a bee hive during 12th annual Veggie Fest held this year at Benedictine University in Lisle.

      Riley Gardner, 1½, of Bolingbrook, has some fun stamping color on a picture of a bee hive during 12th annual Veggie Fest held this year at Benedictine University in Lisle.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
Daily Herald report

In a summer filled with ribs and brats and assorted meats grilled on the back deck, the 12th annual Veggie Fest stands out like a cherry tomato in a bowl of lettuce.

To say the annual weekend celebration, which runs through Sunday at Benedictine University in Lisle, is different from most fests is like saying a carrot isn't exactly a corn dog.

And that's just the way organizers planned it, event coordinator Jonathan Kruger says.

The fest, which usually draws about 40,000 visitors, stresses healthy eating not only for vegetarians and vegans, but also for those who don't turn away from a T-bone.

"Veggie Fest wasn't created (just) for vegetarians," Kruger said in the days leading up to the party. "It was created so people can learn about good food and healthy living."

But if some folks who attend want to change their minds about what and how they eat, he said, "We have a learn-to-be-a-vegetarian tent."

The fest features a variety of vegetarian food booths along with music, games, cooking demonstrations and guest speakers outlining what they say are the advantages of their lifestyle.

Visitors also are encouraged to take the "Vegetarian Challenge," where they pledge to eat a vegetarian diet for two weeks to see if it makes a difference. In the past few years, Kruger said, roughly 15,000 people have signed up.

The celebration continues from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Sunday at Benedictine, 5700 College Road, Lisle. Admission and parking are free.

For a complete schedule of events, visit veggiefestchicago.com.

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