By Virginia Lindak, For Digital First Media
PHOENIXVILLE >> Who knew so many people loved veggies?
A crowd of 2,000 people attended the first Phoenixville VegFest on Saturday on the corner of Bridge and Main streets to learn about healthy lifestyle changes and enjoy delicious food. The health-oriented festival featured a plethora of vegan food vendors, animal advocate groups, environmentally safe products for sale and live music.
VegFest organizer Zoe Sakos, a vegan, said she was inspired by similar festivals held throughout the Philadelphia region. Sakos thought Phoenixville would be a great town to host a VegFest of its own. She noted her husband, a chef at the Great American Pub, has had a great response to the vegan options he has included on the menu.
“We were at the Bethlehem VegFest last year and thought this would be great. There are a lot of restaurants that are starting to have vegan options, and it feels like people are being really responsive to it. I thought it was a great idea to bring people to Phoenxiville,” said Sakos.
“We are already a community-oriented place. We always have festivals going on. It’s a really good turnout, and we’re excited. We put a lot of heart and soul into it and it has been months in the making,” Sakos added.
With the 100 block of Main Street shut down, more than 50 vendors sets up tents featuring healthy vegan entrees, smoothies, clothing and jewelry. Many Phoenixville restaurants in the borough also offered a vegan dish in honor of the festival. Additionally, there were several non profit groups on hand, including the Nourish Mobile, the Peace Advocacy Network and the Pig Placement Network, all who shared educational information with the crowd.
“It’s the first time that they’ve had the VegFest here in Phoenixville and it highlights a unique part of our community,” said Peter Urscheler, executive director of the Phoenixville Jaycees. “More than anything, it shows just how unique Phoenixville is. This is where people of all different backgrounds and of all different interests can come together. We are truly a community.”
Gangster Vegan, a new vegan restaurant celebrated its grand opening in Phoenixville on Saturday as well. Rabih Khoury, owner of a vegan apparel business, partnered up Gangster Vegan to sell tee shirts promoting veganism. Khoury also sells hats and other apparel, all with vegan friendly slogans.
“It’s important to be vegan for different reasons, for everybody. Whether it’s for your health, or the universe, or the planet. Whatever your reason is, go for it. One thing we don’t want to see is people judging other people for their reasons going vegan. I’ve seen a lot of that and it’s not a good way to encourage others,” Khoury commented.